Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Killed in the Line of Duty

The bullet-riddled body of South Korean Christian pastor Bae Hyung-kyu, killed by Muslim extremists in Afghanistan, was found last Wednesday, the day he would have turned 42. His brother told reporters his funeral would be delayed until the other hostages returned to South Korea.

South Korean Christians are a wonderful group of people. They take being Christian very seriously. It defines who they are an what they do.

And so, many have gone to Afghanistan to help with reconstruction and, presumably, to quietly witness to their faith. (Have you noticed -- the West views it as wrong to witness to the Christian faith in Muslim countries, but right to witness to the Islamic faith in so-called Christian countries?)

A second brave Korean brother in Christ has now reportedly been killed.

Are they martyrs? I'm not sure what the technical definition of a martyr is, but they were certainly killed for being and doing what they are -- Christians.

Do secularists bother going to Afghanistan and other needy spots to provide aid? Do militant atheists bother? On the whole, no. And, if they do go, it is usually when someone else -- like western governments -- is paying. Christians go, and pay their own way.

Having gone and been killed in the line of duty, two dear brothers are now in the arms of Jesus, having run the race and finished the course. A crown of life is laid up for them.

Thank God for South Korean Christians.

"Father, we thank you for the South Korean Christians who exhibit the sweet savour of Christ, who bear witness to the One whose scars bear witness to his suffering for them. The Scripture says that "if we suffer with him, we shall reign with him". Help us to remember that suffering for Christ is part of our holy calling. We thank you for each one who is witnessing to You in the world today. We pray that you would bless them with your presence, that you would strengthen them and make them fearless. We remember Daniel, and pray that in your sovereign will you would deliver those who are in peril.

Lord, we wait and look for the Day when evil is quashed and Christ's reign on earth is begun. Our hearts pull at You now, and ask you to come quickly. You are wanted and needed here. Forgive us our sins. Lord, come and help us now."

TJC. Amen.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Thank Goodness 4 the USA

I purchased Season Five of Monk today.

Monk is the quirky detective series starring Tony Shaloub produced by USA television network. I've been a fan ever since I first saw it in the US five years ago. It has migrated to Canada, but we see older episodes. (Unfortunately for Canadians our Human Rights gurus have not seen fit to declare the ability to get first-run US shows when they come out a right; it would make as much sense as some of the other stuff they come up with -- like not being searched at the border unless Canada Customs first gets a search warrant. But I digress.) One of the early seasons was shot in Toronto, and, in a graveyard scene you see Mt. Pleasant Cemetery.

I did due diligence. Checked Amazon.ca. Checked BestBuy.ca. Checked FutureShop.ca. Checked ChaptersIndigo.ca or whatever it is they call themselves these days.

Then I bought it on US-based Amazon.com.

The reason? Price. Season Five sells for around $50 CAD in Canada. At Amazon.com, I can get it for under $40. The discount on the Canadian sites is 20%. On the American site, the discount is 38%.

Thank goodness for the vibrant competitive economy to the south of us.

Ah, but what about shipping to Canada, and customs fees, you ask. Not a problem. I'm planning a trip back to Toronto in August, so I've arranged to have the DVDs shipped to my stopover point, the beautiful Belmont Motel in Skowhegen Maine. They don't mind holding parcels for me. This way I get free shipping.

Will I declare the DVDs when I cross the border into Canada? Of course; always do.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Global Warming -- Now I'm a Believer!

At last I've seen convincing proof of man-made global warming.

Like the Monkees, now I'm a believer.

It's over at SDA (small dead animals). They're showing those pictures of temperature guages (used to measure global temperature) located on asphalt and close to air-conditioner exhausts, both of which skew the temperature.

Here's my analysis:

The asphalt is man-made.

So are the air conditioner units.

So are the scientists who are skewing the data in their computer models.

Ergo, man-made global warming.

Solution: get rid of asphalt; get rid of air conditioners, get rid of scientists, and, oh yes, stop eating tangerines.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Now Here's A Great Idea (Not!)

This just in from the Washington Post Foreign Service:

A start-up airline out of Duesseldorf plans to offer long-haul all-smoke all-the-time luxury flights. If all goes well Smoker's International Airways will make its maiden voyage early next year.

I've had lots of experience with smoke on planes -- too much experience. I remember travelling once from Australia to Canada in a business class No-Smoking seat. The two guys across the aisle from me were in the Smoking section. Eighteen inches of airspace separated the Smoking section from the Non-Smoking section. It didn't work. They smoked non-stop from Sydney to Vancouver. I remember writing a letter. I would like to think that that letter was responsible for the subsequent banning of cigarettes on flights world-wide.

But back to the subject at hand -- the all-smoke, all-the-time airline.

What I like about the idea is, with everybody smoking in such a contained area, there would be no need for you to light up -- you could just breathe in the smokey cabin air. Sure, the flights are expense, but the savings would quickly add up.

It's almost enough to want to take up smoking.


Wait a minute. The article continues.

The owner is planning on installing an extra-strength air-conditioning system that will pump in fresh air from outside. According to the owner, "the air on Smintair will be more refreshing than on a normal flight. You will not even notice the smell of somebody smoking a cigarette or pipe in the next seat."

All I can say is, "good luck with that", and, "what's this guy been smoking?

And that's the way the smoke-free Ball bounces.

Carbon Footprint Stomps on a Tangerine - Updated

"I'll probably never eat a tangerine again"

When you live in North Carolina, it takes trains and trucks to bring in exotic fruit such as tangerines. And that adds to one's "carbon footprint".

Which doesn't sit well with Elizabeth Edwards, wife of Presidential candidate John Edwards:

"We've been moving back to 'buy local'... I live in North Carolina. I'll probably never eat a tangerine again".

No more tangerines -- and global warming claims another victim.

From a prosperity point of view, "buy local" is a recipe for economic disaster and, if taken to an extreme, would mark the return to self-sustaining (impoverished) feudal societies.

As for me, I'm going to run out and buy some succulent tangerines.

And enjoy each succulent bite.

And that's the way the tangerine-coloured Ball bounces.

Update: I had tangerine cake for lunch. It was delicious.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Onward, Christian Soldiers!

Christianity and Islam are in the news. A Christian in Canada has been hauled up before another Human Rights Tribunal for speaking. Meanwhile, Islam is in the news because of a recent honour killing in Britain, in which a young woman family member was brutally tortured and killed.

Many in cyberspace insist on equating Islam and Christianity. Usually this amounts to discounting Muslim attrocities while pointing to the rare infraction by someone calling himself a Christian, such as Timothy McVeigh.

In fact, both Muslims and Christians believe in taking up the sword in the defence of their faith.

However, the Christian's sword is the sword of the Spirit, the word of God. Muslim's use a sword of a different sort, as the various pictures of beheadings floating around cyberspace attest.

And that, in a nutshell, is the essential difference between the mindset of Islam and Christianity. We understand our battle as being spritual, albeit carried out here on earth. They view their battle as human conquest, by the sword if necessary. When the Roman Catholic Church wandered into conquest by force, it clearly deviated from the teachings of Christ and the apostles. When Islam embarks on conquest by force, it is fulfilling the teachings of Mohammed and the Koran. That's the essential difference.

Of these two swords, Human Rights Tribunals and goodie-goodies in Canada view the Christian's sword as a far greater threat.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Man-made global cooling undermining man-made global warming

It keeps getting weirder.

Man-made global cooling is undermining man-made global warming.

According to the Wall Street Journal, bad air is making its way from China to California. Plumes of airborne microscopic particles (aka aerosols) are wafting their way across the Pacific containing so many cooling sulfate particles that they may be "masking half of the effect of global warming".

According to the article, "As China and other countries eliminate their sulfate emissions, however, world temperatures may heat up even faster than predicted."

The truth is, our climate system is incredibly complex, and, the more we learn about the complex interactions between the oceans and the atmosphere, the more we marvel at creation and the wonderful planet on which we live. I believe that God has placed within the planet many intricate clean-up and restorative mechanisms to help ensure that the planet remains habitable.

Of course this does not mean that we should intentionally pollute, or be careless about the environment.

But it does mean that we can get on with enjoying life, and not worrying unduly about whether the planet can sustain another trip by us to the supermarket.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Global Warming-- the Ultimate Reality TV Series

The National Post's Lawrence Solomon has posted his latest article denouncing the global warming craze. It suggests that the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC, is all wet when it comes to oceans and the longevity of C02 in the atmosphere. The article ends by saying, "It is all a fiction."

This got me thinking.

Perhaps we are all in the midst of someone's apocalyptic scifi fantasy. At some point the person playing Al Gore will rip off the obvious latex mask -- have you looked closely, lately? -- and say, "gotcha"! Then, all the principals will come forward and admit that it was all an experiment in social control, and the ultimate in reality TV programming, since it involved the whole world.

The credits will roll -- brought to you by the New York Times, the CBC, the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, PETA, various UN panels and organizations.

And they'll end by saying, "OK, maybe it was only a half-baked idea, but it was all in good fun".

And the carbon credits thing? All the money saved and invested, to be redistributed among the poorest nations of the world.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Friday, July 20, 2007



That's my carbon-offset "bill". I went to the following site


and keyed in my particulars. With my profile, the bill came to $280.

A small car. A van. Oh, sure. The van is on it's last legs and I'll probably sell it, but I threw it in. And we split our time between two homes -- only one is in use at any one time, but, hey, who's counting when it comes to saving the planet?

Will I forward the $280 to save the planet? Not a chance. First, I don't believe man-made climate change is a serious problem. Secondly, the carbon offset thing has the marks of a ponzi scheme, and thirdly, I figure with the high gasoline taxes in Canada, I've been paying carbon offsets for years.

But don't let me stop you.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Coming to a Subway Near You: Carbon-credits for ordering the veggie sub

You're driving in your car; you're munching on a Big Mac, Whopper, In-n-Out Burger, or Wendy's Classic Single. If the latest news is to be believed, you're doing more C02 damage to the environment by eating the burger than driving your car.

According to the UK Telegraph, producing 2.2 lb of beef generates as much greenhouse gas as driving a car non-stop for three hours. Bad news for all-for-show environmentalists.

Now Hollywood environmentalists can't get by by having a Prius parked beside the Hummer; now they'll have to go vegetarian. I expect to see Al Gore eating veggie burgers in public, while scarfing down cows in the privacy of his home.

I've done the math. If 2.2 lb of beef = driving non-stop for three hours, an hour's worth of driving equals just under 12 ounces of beef. This means that Subway and other fast-food restaurants will be able to offer a 20-minute carbon offset credit for people who get a veggie sub instead of a 4 ounce Big Mac. Forgo a Wendy's Double, and your carbon credit climbs to 40 minutes. Forgo an In-n-Out Burger 4 x 4, and your credit climbs to an hour and 20!

I'm not planning on eating any meat at breakfast today -- this has to be worth at least a drive around town.

The whole global warming thing gets weirder by the day.

As for me, I'm going to continue to respect the environment and enjoy the great life that God has given us.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Christian response to homosexuality

The Interim, a Canadian Catholic pro-life newspaper has published an article called "The Christian response to homosexuality". Here's an excerpt:

"At the Interim, we do not consider it charitable to hide from people struggling with homosexual inclinations the considerable risks to their physical, mental and spiritual well-being that are associated with the gay lifestyle. We do not consider it rational to discuss the question of 'gay rights' without regard to the consequences -- for adults and children, marriage, the family, the church and society."

One of the goals of the homosexual movement has been to eliminate rational discussion and debate under the guise of human rights and hurt feelings. They have been largely successful. Today, school curriculums in Canada are being scoured to ensure that they contain nothing that would offend homosexuals, and that only gay-friendly, gay-positive portrayals be made. As someone has said about modern society, reason has been replaced with misplaced kindness.

The Interim, and its hard-working staff are something to be thankful for.

"Father we ask you to bless The Interim and its staff, and all others like them. They are "holding the fort" and bravely witnessing for Christian truth in matters such as abortion, euthanasia, and embryonic stem cell research against considerable odds and encroaching godless secularism. May their light, and the light of others like them, continue to shine brightly. May they never give up, never lose hope, and always look to the sure and certain coming of the Lord Jesus Christ who will put down every evil power and establish his kingdom of everlasting righteousness on this Earth.

TJC (through Jesus Christ), Amen."

Monday, July 16, 2007

Abortion and the Battle for Conscience

Under the present Canadian Medical Association's conscientious objector policy, doctors are not required to commit abortions, and do not have to refer women requesting abortions to someone who does.

According to LifeSiteNews.com as reported in The Interim (June 2007), this does not sit well with the US National Abortion Federation; it is demanding that Canadian doctors refer patients for abortions whether or not they object on moral grounds.

Apparently, there are a lot of doctors in Canada who just don't want to have anything to do with abortion.

That's something to be thankful for!

"Father, we thank you for each and every healthcare worker in Canada (and the US) who is pro-life and who refuses on grounds of conscience to participate in abortions. We thank you for each and every one of them, and ask that you pour out your blessing upon them and their families. Let them know that we appreciate their front-line efforts on behalf of righteousness. They are in the trenches where life-and-death matters are being decided. We know that, statistically, the vast majority of them will be Christians, as it seems that only Christians care enough about such matters to take courageous stands. Bless each one, Christian or not, and let them know we are standing with them.

Through Jesus Christ, the only wise and only good Saviour of the world, Amen.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Give Appease a Chance

The US is having a rough time in Iraq and the world.

The problem with the US position in Iraq is that it adopted a highly moral position that if it bombed a country and toppled its ruler, it was obligated to stick around for reconstruction, and to do so in a way that minimized casualties.

Trying to "do good" has been extremely costly for the US in terms of both lives and dollars, and has perhaps also cost Iraq in terms of net lives lost vs. a more blunt and brutal approach to restoring law and order.

For its efforts, the US has been vilifed by the West and is now viewed as the source of all evil in the world.

A decadent West will pay the price in spades if the US fails in Iraq. Its feeble response to continued terrorism and subversion will be to offer to hold Rock Concerts for Peace, under the banner "Give Appease a Chance".

These will last until the terrorists get the bright idea of bombing one. And then we'll see how brave the Hollywood set really are.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Roman Catholic Church -- It's the Real Thing

The Bishop of Rome has weighed in. The Roman Catholic Church is The Real Thing. It's not New Coke, or Coke Light or Coke Zero -- it's Coke Classic, and all the other Churches are RC Cola or Tab.

"Other Christian denominations, it [Rome] argues, cannot be called Churches in the proper sense because they cannot trace their bishops back to Christ's original apostles."

Good, but the doctrine of apostolic succession has weak Scriptural support and fails to account for the Sovereign Spirit of the Lord, who is surely not captive to the hands of fallible and potentially evil men.

The Roman Catholic Church has historical legitimacy, but lacks functional legimacy to the extent that its teachings deviate from those laid down by the apostles (as encapsulated in the New Testament Scriptures).

Since Christianity is, at heart, a message, and people become Christians not primarily by rites of the Church but by hearing the word of God and believing it, the Holy Spirit is presumably free to raise up believers in any time and any place who may or may not have any formal connections with the orginal historical church.

And the Church should rejoice in this!

On the day of Pentecost, the authenticating sign was not the presence of bishops or apostles, but the Holy Spirit. The same is true today.

It is true that each church in a geographical area is to have properly appointed overseers, but there is nothing in Scripture to indicate that they must all report to the bishop of a particular jurisdiction, i.e., Rome, or that only bishops directly or indirectly appointed by him have present-day legitimacy.

I respect the Roman Catholic Church. I honour it for its faithfulness during years of great trial and persecution. And I bless it for faithfully handing on the canon of Scripture. But it is a ship that is laden with barnacles that the New Testament would scrub and clean. It lacks authority when it claims authority for itself that is unwarranted by Scripture or history.

May Christians be brought together in unity in Christ by His Holy Spirit. May those who love the Lord in all denominations be blessed, and may those who claim to love Him but in fact hate Him and despise the witness he has given, be accursed (according to Scripture).

May the two-edged sword of the Spirit cut through the Churches and may the Lord's voice be clearly heard.

And may His sheep hear his voice and follow Him.

Two perspectives on salvation...

"If you want to save the planet, everybody jump!" -- Madonna

"If you want to save the world, suffer and die on the cross for its sins" -- The Father

As people, we get to choose which end of the pool we swim in -- the deep end, or the shallow end.

I prefer the deeper end.

People say that being a Christian means checking your mind at the door. Personally, I have never found that. I believe that Christians think more deeply about matters of ultimate meaning than anyone, and that our God encourages us to do just that.

It's called loving God with all your mind.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

The Devil

Robert Fulford is an outstanding writer for the National Post. In today's Post he has an article on the devil. Dr. Fulford confesses to not believe in God, but his writing is fair-minded, and his mind well-stocked.

I approach belief in the devil this way:

A person may not believe in God or the devil, but one must believe in Jesus Christ, to the extent, at least, that he existed.

Christ believed in the devil, and viewed his healing ministry as restoring what the devil had stolen -- "he went about doing good, and healing all that were sick and oppressed of the devil".

So, like all ultimate matters concerning humanity, it all comes down to what one believes about Jesus Christ.

The Christian witness is that God is: a) all powerful, and b) all good. But we see much evil in the world. We see death, decay, injustice. How do we square what we see with what we believe? We add a third maxim: c) God is all-wise.

God knows things we don't. And one of the things he knows and comprehends completely, which we only see dimly, is the existence of a malignant entity called the devil. God did not create the devil, at least, not in his present form. The devil became the devil when he rebelled against God and took a third of the angels of heaven with him. The devil is the entity that God, in his wisdom, permitted to tempt Adam. The devil is the entity who is the legal owner of the earth today (the god of this world), because God gave man dominion over the earth, but man in turn succombed to the devil's tempation and gave the devil permission to rule spiritually over mankind.

Scripture gives witness to the fall of man. Life on earth cannot be properly understood without an appreciation for it and the devastation that it has wrought upon the earth. And yet, even in the midst of a fallen, decayed, broken world, the goodness and power of God Almighty can still be seen, and we can sing,

This is my Father's world,
and to my listening ears
all nature sings, and round me rings
the music of the spheres.
This is my Father's world:
I rest me in the thought
of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
his hand the wonders wrought.

2. This is my Father's world,
the birds their carols raise,
the morning light, the lily white,
declare their maker's praise.
This is my Father's world:
he shines in all that's fair;
in the rustling grass I hear him pass;
he speaks to me everywhere.

3. 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:
why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King; let the heavens ring!
God reigns; let the earth be glad!

In Scripture, the devil is portrayed as a Tempter, a Deceiver, an Accuser, and an Oppressor. Those who make serious moves towards Christ at some point run smack headlong into this malevolent, opposing force. The devil's oppression was so great in Luther's life that I believe at one point he (Luther) threw an ink bottle at him!

On a personal note --

When I was in the process of converting to Christ at university, as I contemplated taking the plunge, I remember something deep inside me protesting and profanely saying that I didn't want to do that; I was astonished by this inward outburst -- I didn't even know that this "thing" had existed inside me. I persisted, and it vanished. But I now recognized that, prior to my conversion, this evil (or, at least, Christ-opposing) entity had indwelt me, and that, afterwards, I belonged to a Spirit of a different sort.

True Christianity is, at its heart, experiential, and therefore, proveably true.

Praise God for the One who said, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free"!

I love God and hate the devil. My prayer is that each word of each lyric of each song I write will witness to God's glory and the devil's doom.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Live Earth: Bad Weather turns Good turns Bad

Johannesburg blamed the poor turnout at Live Earth: Johannesburg on BAD weather; London's BBC blamed the poor TV audience figures on weather of a different kind : "The BBC blamed the poor figures on Saturday's GOOD weather and said its Wimbledon tennis coverage had drawn away afternoon viewers."

One thing's for sure: the weather's to blame.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Global Warming event ruined; Climate Change Blamed

While the rest of the world was fighting Global Warming at Live Earth, officials at Live Earth Johannesburg blamed Climate Change for poor attendance. Organisers said extremely cold weather kept people away.

If it's hot, it's Global Warming; if it's cold, it's Climate Change.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

David Suzuki: Light of the World

The latest in the attempts to deify David Suzuki: massive billboards in and around Toronto. Dr. Suzuki is holding a C02-friendly lightbulb, with the lightbulb blazing in all its glory.

David Suzuki: Light of the World!

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