Monday, December 31, 2007

More Blessed To Give... Canada Helps!

For various reasons, we leave some of our charitable giving to the last possible moment of the year. I know, I know, there's probably a scripture somewhere that says, "thou shalt not procrastinate". I've been meaning to look it up, but I never seem to find the time.

Ten years ago, all last-minute giving involved the tedious process of writing cheques, addressing envelopes, filling out forms, and trudging off to the mailbox.

About five years ago, charities started making it easier for us -- you could now make a phone call and donate over the phone, using a credit card. That helped. But you still had to figure out how to call each one, and give each one the information they needed.

Well, I went to make a donation to the Gideons today, and found out that they accept donations via an organization called Canada Helps. I checked it out. It's a really easy site that takes your donation information and stores it for re-use. But it gets even better.

Having successfully given my modest stipend to the fine people at the Gideons, I realized that this is a general site, and discovered to my delight that all my favourite charities, or so it seems, are on it!

What a great step forward! You can do all your annual charitable giving at one site. It will even store "Favorites" and things like that that make it easier next time you go back.

You can also set up for monthly giving. I'm not really into new year's resolutions, but this is one resolution I think I might actually keep -- move some of these over to a monthly giving plan.

How come I'm just discovering this now?! I'll bet those of you reading this site already knew about it. How come you didn't tell me?!

Canada Helps may be accessed at

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Redemptive Suffering

In an article that appears in today's National Post, Barbara Kay discusses the topic of redemptive suffering. She is unequivocally opposed to the Christian view of God: "A God who deems suffering redemptive is unacceptable."


In her article, she quotes a Catholic who embraced the holocaust as a way of participating in the suffering of Christ. I share her concern over this particular Catholic emphasis.

It is a peculiarly Catholic belief that human suffering, whether it be sickness or worse, is somehow redemptive. Usually and mostly it is not. The clearest example to the Christian always must be Christ -- who "went about doing good, and healing those who were sick and oppressed of the devil". Not once did Christ say, "it's God's will for you to be sick, he's teaching you a lesson, it's redemptive"! He healed all who came to Him.

However Catholics and Protestants are united in agreeing that Christ's suffering was redemptive because it was a divinely-instituted and voluntarily offered suffering on someone else's -- humanity's -- behalf.

Just like you as a parent might be willing to pay a penalty, a fine, imprisonment, or worse, on behalf of a wayward child whom you nonetheless loved. Both justice and mercy would be served, justice because the penalty would be paid, mercy because the child is spared punishment. And, it would certainly be redemptive to the child freed from the penalty!

But there are two caveats.

Firstly, the child would be free to reject the offer, which might be the case if he was stubbornly estranged from their parent.

Secondly, what if the child accepted the offer, but didn't turn from his wayward ways? The substitution would be monstrous -- it would simply free the child to continue in his wayward, destructive ways -- suffering the punishment would have been more appropriate.

God deals with both of these situations in the gospel.

God provides the way in Christ, leaves the sinner free to reject it, and predicates acceptance of it on a condition -- repentance.

Repent and believe the gospel -- the kingdom of God is at hand.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Archbishop of Canterbury is owed an apology!

I'm listening to the Archbishop of Canterbury's radio interview in which he was quoted as saying he believed the wise men who visited the baby Jesus were legendary. What he actually said is quite different from what the media reported he said. The media reports either reflect extreme bias or, just as likely, ignorance.

Here are the salient points:

1. He believes in the virgin birth, but would not make belief in the virgin birth a test of faith to become a Christian. (I agree with this to the extent that when I became a Christian this was not something that I either believed or disbelieved. Of course, as part of my growth as a believer I came to believe in the virgin birth.)

2. He believes in the wise men/kings, but not that there were necessarily three of them, one of them a black man from Africa. It was of these legendary accretions he said "works well as legend".

3. He's not sure about the star standing still over the house where Jesus was (as reported by Matthew).

4. Not a fan of right-wing US Christian fundamentalism.

I listened to the entire interview, and he acquitted himself quite well.

To the extent that he was misquoted, and subsequently abused for it in the blogosphere (including this site) we owe him an apology.

So sorry.

If you have the time and inclination, you can listen to the entire interview at

h/t to frappeur, who brought this to my attention.

Christmas Sermon 2007: God's Love Is Like The Snow

God's love is like the snow coming down on Christmas day.

Have you ever awoken to a blanket of fresh-fallen snow, and, (apart from having to shovel the drive-way and clear off the car) been transported by the wonder at it all? I remember the first time our cairn terrier, Robbie Burns, then a puppy and now an old dog, saw snow coming down. He was startled and filled with wonder by it.

God's love is like the snow.

On the first Christmas day, the Lord came to a particular place at a particular point in time. So, perhaps you think that the snow of God's love is a sprinkling that fell on Bethlehem. You would be wrong.

Although Christ came to a particular place at a particular time, the love of God that was wrapped up in the child in the manger was bigger than the universe. The snow of God's love didn't just fall on Bethlehem. It fell on the world -- a thick, snowy-white blanket blanketed the earth. It fell not just in the cold climes, but in the warm climes as well; it fell where snow had never fallen before. Imagine snow in Fiji, snow in the Caribbean, snow in Bali, even!

God's love is like the snow. And it fell mightily on us on Christmas day.

A blanket of snow consists of millions upon millions of individual snowflakes, all unique, we are told.

And, while it is true that God loves the world in a general sense, it is also true that he loves each one of us in a particular, individualized way. God's love is like the individual snowflakes that fall. There is a unique, individualized snowflake of God's love for each one of us. It's a love that knows all about us -- our strengths and weaknesses, our hopes, our dreams, our talents, our struggles and our shortcomings.

God has an individualized love especially for you. And this love was first displayed when Christ came on Christmas day.

God kissed the world with a blanket of snow on Christmas Day.

Merry Christmas to all.

Monday, December 24, 2007

God Kissed The World On Christmas Day

Dear friends,

I've posted a new Christmas song -- God Kissed The World On Christmas Day -- on YouTube. This is a first for me. I debuted the song two weeks ago in Georgetown, PEI, and then sang it again at the Basilica in Charlottetown. Then, since it's a Christmas song, we got the idea of doing a quick demo version of it and posting it up to YouTube so I could share it with my friends this Christmas season.

You can access it from my Christian music website -- (which is now up-and-running!). The website also includes a lyric/chord sheet for the song.

I'll be sending out emails to my friends inviting them to watch, listen, and (hopefully) enjoy it.

If you like it, pass it on to your friends -- wouldn't it be wonderful if we could get it passed around the world on Christmas day.

I'm going to start with my friends in Singapore, where it is already Christmas day.

God kissed the world on Christmas Day.

Please let me know what you think.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Will You Be Going to Church This Christmas?

From a Globe and Mail online poll:

"Will you be going to a church, synagogue, temple, mosque or other religious facility this holiday season?"

1712 votes

3200 votes

3 out of 3 Canadians need God.

1 out of 3 will seek Him this Christmas.

What will YOU do?

The Virgin Birth: Yes!

The National Post is running a series entitled "Beyond Belief". This week's topic: the virgin birth.

Is it beyond belief? Not to me. Here's my logic.

Is belief in God beyond belief? No, God provides a reasonable and rational explanation for the existence of the universe and the persistent moral sense within human beings.

Is belief that God created the universe beyond belief? No, it is not only a very reasonable belief, it is a highly probable belief, based on philosophy and reason alone.

If we believe that God exists and that He created the universe is it beyond belief to believe that he might be interested in the welfare of his creation, and that he might have taken steps to ensure its welfare, including providing us with a reliable source of information about Himself? No, it is not. And that brings us to faith in the Bible as the revelation of God, and the possibility that God has taken steps to save us.

So, based on the all the above, is it unreasonable to believe in a virgin birth?

No. Creation is a colossal miracle; the virgin birth is a lesser miracle, and certainly not beyond belief. But is it probable or likely? If you understand the message of the Bible, the answer is a resounding "Yes!".

Does the virgin birth fit the message of the Bible, including the twin messages of man's sin and God's desire to restore us to fellowship with Him? The answer is a resounding "Yes!". Only man ought to make an offering to God for man's sin; only God could make an offering worthy of Himself. Think about it. The virgin birth answers this conundrum.

Jesus was truly the son of the Most High. And through Him we can be more than just forgiven sons of Adam, we can become God's actual sons and daughters, via adoption. It all fits. Packer refers to the gospel as "adoption through propitiation".

I believe it, and it makes me joyful to do so.

Rejoice with me in the virgin birth and the love of God that came to us in Christ.

Is It OK To Steal?

If the item in question is digital -- music, movies, etc., the answer from the blogosphere is a resounding "yes"!.

If there's any doubt, people point out that Canadians pay a tax on blank media because Canadians routinely flout copyright laws.

Here's my response:

Let's say that thieves are stealing furniture. In response, the government puts an extra tax on furniture that is supposed to go to those who have been stolen from. But the money really only goes to the major players. Now, someone steals your furniture. Because you are a little guy, you receive no compensation. How do you feel? Does the furniture tax make all things OK for you?

The principle of copyright law is that the author of a creative work owns the rights to the work, period. If you are not willing to pay for it on whatever terms it is offered, move on.

Love your neighbour. Do not steal.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Islam vs. Christianity -- sandpaper vs. velvet

Moderate Muslims complain that they shouldn't be tarred with the same brush as radical, violent Muslims.

The problem with moderate Islam is that it provides the petri dish in which the more virulent and violent strains of Islam are cultivated. Moderate Islam seems to lack the grit or resolve to successfully resist or quash its radical brethren.

Unlike Christianity, which stresses inward conversion and a voluntary response to the gospel, the message of Islam is much closer to an outward submission/political kind of dominance.

This is seen in the record of the conversion experience of Mohammed (whom I recall said he felt like a whipped dog), vs. the conversion of the apostle Peter or the apostle Paul.

And, of course, it is seen in the record of Islamic states.

Islam and Christianity simply have different characters.

Canada may live to one day regret its rejection of moderate and moderating Christianity.

It may discover it has rejected velvet for sandpaper.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Rare Opportunity...

We are featured on a front page story about gift-giving through World Vision at today's Guardian.

Better look now -- tomorrow it will be gone!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Archbishop of Canterbury brings out the Big Guns

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Atkinson, I mean, Williams, has indicated he will not be inviting the conservative Americans recently ordained as bishops and priests by African prelates to his big Lambeth Conference shindig next year.

As a result, the Anglican church in Nigeria has threatened to boycott the Conference.

In response, Archbishop Williams brought out the Big Guns: “The refusal to meet can be a refusal of the cross — and so of the resurrection.”

Ouch! Not going along with the liberal Archbishop's program can be a denial of the cross and the resurrection! Now that's heavy. At least it would be, if it wasn't complete bunkum.

To equate staying away from a Conference of a Christian communion led by an Archbishop who has reportedly conducted private communions for practicing homosexual clergy with denial of the Cross and the Resurrection amounts to a tuffer so colossal I'm surprised the Archbishop's tongue didn't fall out of his head when he uttered it.

And yet, that is how I find it often is with liberal Christian leaders. They use Christian words and phrases, but they are a veneer; the sentiments they express are false, and the words they use are either emptied of their meaning or given a new meaning that is incompatible with historic faith.

The Anglican Communion is like a train. Each province is a box-car. Canterbury is the engine. I say it's time for the faithful to unhitch themselves from the present engine and the box cars filled with rot and go their own way.

As Jesus said, concerning the Pharisees, "Let the blind lead the blind -- they'll both end up in the ditch". The Anglican Church is headed for the ditch (or worse).

Jesus didn't say "follow the Archbishop"; he didn't say, "follow the bishops"; he didn't say, "follow the cultural trends; he didn't say, "follow the crowd; he said, "follow me".

It's time for the big disconnect. It's time for the faithful to bail.

Only then will the liberals perhaps come to their senses and see what harm they have wrought.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Friday, December 14, 2007

"S&M builds character"

Sado-masochism builds character. A headline from the the CBC. Sounds about right. OK, it was in the context of a movie review. But, still, there it is.

I think I'm still allowed to speak out against sado-masochism, although who knows? New sexual identities and sexual identity rights are being created daily here in Canada -- witness this from Mark Steyn:

"The Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission's decision to impose a 'lifetime' ban on a local Catholic's freedom to publicly criticise homosexuality was upheld this week in its entirety by Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench." (However, in the interest of balance and fairness, there is no such ban that prevents a homosexual from criticizing Catholics.)

At any rate, to the existing set of approved sexualities, we can now, according to the CBC, add character-building sado-masochism.

Undoubtedly coming to a school near you.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Islam Goes Postal

A Canadian father, in the name of Islam, has killed his daughter for not being Muslim enough.

The spin? The Globe and Mail, in its front page coverage, had two headlines. The first blamed the death on "Religious Extremism". This fits their goal of characterizing all religions, including Christianity, as suspect if not socially noxious. The second reassured us that Moderate Muslims condemn the killing. Why didn't they blame the death on what it was, not religious extremism in general, but specifically, Muslim extremism? Because our society is in denial about this. It doesn't fit the received script.

It needs to be clearly stated: Islam is a different faith than Christianity. It is regressive. It is false. They are mutually incompatible. Christians who think we should honor Islam because it is monotheistic or because it claims Abrahamic roots are deluded. You cannot commend Islam without denying the Christian faith.

Canada had the best religion going: Christianity. Elites from the 60s on down, perhaps in rebelling against their own Christian heritage, have done everything they can to downplay our Christian origins and culture -- including the multicultural promotion of the equivalence of other faiths.

Leftist elites will continue to support and promote Islam because they view it as an ally in their goal of erasing Canada's Christian heritage.

We are at war. It is not a war fought with bullets. It is a spiritual battle, fought in heavenly places. Our nation's founders etched the following verse of Scripture over the heads of all Parliamentarians: "He shall have dominion from sea to sea". Our nation is in open rebellion against our forefathers' founding vision of Canada.

I am declaring this truth today; I am placing this spiritual stake in the ground: Christ shall have dominion over Canada, from sea to sea.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Here's a Danish to have with your morning coffee

Bjoern Lomborg is the Danish author of "The Sceptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World".

He once headed Denmark's Environmental Assessment Institute.

He was on Time Magazine's list of the world's most influential people in 2004, but unlikely to make the list in the future -- he's on the wrong side of the Anthropic Global Warming issue.

His latest book, "Cool It," attacks the Kyoto Protocol.

"One could also get a lot more for one's money by investing in the fight against AIDS, malaria and famine," he said, insisting that "for every person saved from malaria by hitting the brakes on global warming you could save 36,000 through third world health policies."

I'm with him on that. There are far more urgent priorities the West could attend to -- like people suffering and dying now. But then, it would be about "them" and not "us".

The West loves the whole AGW thing because it's all about "us".

He also says that, if successful, the whole attack on C02 would only shave off two years of C02 growth this century, meaning that it would take until 2102 instead of 2100 to reach a predefined level of C02.

Hardly worth the bother.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Getting Serious About Saving The Planet

The environmentalists are always telling us that we must make changes to our lifestyles in order to save the planet, are they not?

Usually, what they have in mind is changing their light bulbs and punishing corporations that provide the goods and services we all love to consume and which make life on this planet great. I really don't see many environmentalists making major changes (except for the woman who sacrificed her unborn baby to save Mother Earth -- I expect she would have aborted anyway).

Heather Mills and other environmentalists have pointed out that if you were really serious about saving the planet you would stop eating meat -- all the herds of cattle raised to fill our appetite for meat create a lot of methane gas which is bad for the planet. A lot of environmentalists are still eating meat.

Over at Mark Steyn, another very sensible argument has emerged. If you really care about the planet and are married, you'll stay together, if not for the sake of the kids, for the sake of Mother Earth. That's right. Divorce is an eco-unfriendly act. Double the housing. Shuttling the kids back and forth. Double the rooms for kids.

Environmentalists view the environment as a moral crusade. Are they willing to restrict their "freedom" and behave in a moral manner with regards to divorce?

Don't hold your breath.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Thank God for Big Oil

Thank God for Big Oil. They fuel our economy and our way of life. They provide a reliable source of reasonably priced fuel year in and year out with rare disruption.

Some of the best and brightest minds in our society work for Big Oil.

Exploration -- Production -- Refining -- Distribution -- Retailing -- it's a wonderfully managed operation; humankind at its finest.

The government, for its part, just mindlessly slaps on 50% in taxes -- without initiative, intelligence, or risk.

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