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Friday, June 11, 2010

Why do Teens bite off more than they can chew?
Why do Teens bite off more than they can chew? 

The news reports today that

 
A 16-year-old Southern California girl who was feared lost at sea while sailing solo around the world has been found alive and well, adrift in the southern Indian Ocean with rescue boats headed toward her”[1]

 
This brave young girl Abby Sunderland found herself out of control in the middle of mountainous seas thousands of miles from the coast.

 
Why was she there? Why was she permitted to go there? Who will pay for the rescue attempt that will save her life?  

Young adults or “teens” as we tag them, are healthy, enthusiastic, risk takers without the experience of life to guide their actions.
We as a society have abdicated our responsibility to guiding their actions by giving them more and more legal control of their lives at a young age.
 

Today a parent cannot dictate to a child
that they will complete their schooling, that they must take useful subjects, and that they cannot make stupid decisions that will result in long term damage because we as a society somehow have given way to those who wanted to influence the thought patterns of the youth and mold them against their parents wishes. 
 

This now is supported by law but I contend that a loving parent needs to have input into a child’s life as they become adults and they need to continue to do it until at least 18 years of age.
 

Take Abby for example! Should a young girl of 16 be scooting off around the world in wind powered boat. Sure, with significant help and guidance.

Should she be alone? Not likely! The experience that comes with age and having been in some of the worst conditions needed to be with her to guide and help her.

That’s why the article says

“Australian round-the-world sailor Ian Kiernan said Abby should not have been in the southern Indian Ocean during the current southern hemisphere winter
”.
 

Others knew she was making a mistake!
She didn’t and probably wouldn’t have listened if she had been told.

That’s our teens today. Teens are very sure of themselves until reality hits with a force.

That’s why we have the teenage pregnancies, why teens live together or get married before they should, why some damage their bodies with drugs and alcohol, or drop out of school with inadequate grades to ensure a life without excessive pain!
 

Who is to blame? Them, or the “older” generation?
 

Where was the silent majority when the laws were proposed that enable this to occur?
Why did the older generation not complaint, demonstrate and push back?
 
Is it because we are complacent? Is it because it was easier to let it happen slowly than to stand up for truth?
 
Why are we so ashamed to stand up and be counted?

 
My hero is Christ! I notice he didn’t duck big issues! He didn’t agree with the status quo! He spoke out against dishonesty, false values, and the current lawmakers when they made incorrect decisions.

 
Let’s not be doormats! Let us be solid strong citizens and demand to have our young people educated in truth and with respect for elders. Lets put checks and balances in place to be sure elders do not abuse this responsibility, but let's try and re-build a support structure to stop our young people from getting stranded in life!

 
Abby is fortunate! Millions of dollars of high tech equipment and well trained men and women will be deployed to get her home safely. That’s because she is in the public eye!


Millions of other teens are not so fortunate. They have no support when they make decisions that cause them to be set adrift in life. Those that leave school to soon, that get married to young, that choose drugs or alcohol because they feel great, those that spend the rest of their life lonely looking after a child or in self reproach for having killed one legally with abortion.

 
These young people need our help even when they don’t know it or necessarily want it. Let’s support the changes in law that will really help them and resist those that won't.

Let’s be vocal not quite! Let's start this today!
Fri, June 11, 2010 | link          Comments

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Putting on compassion, does that sound right?
Putting on compassion, does that sound right?

 
Our sacred writings in the Bible as written in a letter to those ancient people the Colossians says in chapter 3 verse 12 

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion
, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.


 
 Why did that guy write it in that way? Today we say “have compassion”, or “be compassionate”. We would never say “put it on”, or “clothe yourself with compassion.

 
Colosse was also known as Phrygia, and was about 12 miles from Laodicea, near the modern town of Honaz in Turkey. It was known for wool of a certain color in which the residents traded. The wool was colored by a particular flower of the region.

 
Paul was a wise man and was very good at tailoring his illustrations to the communities he was talking to. Perhaps this was the reason for his choice of words. Perhaps he was reminding the people that they provided quality materials and clothing for people who came to them in need. Maybe he was trying to say to them it was not sufficient just to give clothing, but was encouraging them to open their hearts as well to reflect the compassion of God to the people who came to them.

 
What is compassion? To quote Austin's Atheism Blog he defines it this way “It's basic definition is simply an awareness of the suffering of others and a wish to relieve that suffering - but that is a bit superficial. It seems that "real" compassion is an action - not a wish to relieve suffering but actual efforts to do so. You don't "show" compassion by saying "I'm compassionate." Instead, you go out and do something, even if it is just to donate money to worthy causes.”[1]

 
I agree with this definition! We need to do not talk! It’s an action, and activity, and perhaps that’s why Paul uses the words “clothe”. To get dressed, you need to do activity as well. Paul is not saying compassion is inherent in us, it isn’t! We need to actively choose to be compassionate!

 
Then, being compassionate is work to start with, but once we have it started, it covers us and becomes part of us like our clothes tend to be forgotten as the day goes on. They are part of us, how we represent ourselves to the world.

 
For Colossians they were more, they advertised to the world as well. They displayed their wares using their clothes. Paul was perhaps saying as Christians we need to honestly make the effort to be compassionate until it becomes part of us, and then it will not only alleviate suffering, but will show the world that Christians do really care. It’s not the main purpose, but it’s a side purpose of compassion. It shows others an inner quality of our lives.

 
I think that today I want to look for a circumstance where I can be compassionate. Maybe I will have to put myself at a disadvantage to do this but I believe it will not only benefit those who receive, but I will feel more comfortable as compassion becomes a more familiar part of today.

 
How do you feel about being compassionate today?

Shall we do this together?


[1] http://atheism.about.com/b/2003/08/24/how-do-you-define-compassion.htm

Thu, June 10, 2010 | link          Comments

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Why do I feel pressure to conform all the time?
  Surely we live a country that guarantees freedom of speech? The constitutional provision that guarantees Freedom of expression in Canada is section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

 
2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: ... (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication

 
In Canada, however this is limited The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.”

 
This is where we get into quicksand.

We want freedom that is not absolute but that is dependent on what the community considers freedom.
 

As Christians we believe that freedom is provided for everyone and that truth is absolute, not relative to community’s judgements.
 

This is a strong stand to take, it is radical in today’s society, and it makes the statement that society can be distorted and we don’t want to be distorted with society.

 
Remember that in the election of July 31, 1932,  Hitler was brought into power by the vote.

The same logic that awarded that villain power to destroy the world, the power of public opinion, is the inherent flaw in the Charter above. It says that humans know best and cannot fail! This is wrong!


We do fail as a society at times! We follow the wrong men. Dr Spock failed the world and it followed him with great passion. Hitler was followed with passion. Many men are followed with passion, but they are men with flaws.

 
I believe that freedom of speech should have no constraints on it. People should be allowed to speak, even when they totally disagree with the norm. We should listen even if we feel violated by the words. That's freedom! 

Fortunately in Canada, there is currently a society that is loving and protective of others. This is similar in many western countries, but there is a definite undertone that says Christians are radicals that threaten societies interests. Pressure is being brought to bear to lable Christians as "hateful" and nothing could be further from the truth!

Christians believe the best families are the ones with a mother and father who love each other! These parents never have affairs outside the home, they work as a team to provide for and love their children, they teach their children the biblical values inherent in the DNA of our history, and they do not have to be ashamed or limited in their beliefs.

 
Unfortunately this is often no longer considered of value by the majority of society.

The freedom of the law is now bending to say that by stating the above you are a threat to society. Our freedom of speech is being eroded!

Marriage is redefined, which is fine except, now when someone disagrees with non-biblical marriage forms, they are labelled as being “hateful”. Our children are taught that to disgree with the bible, to condone homosexuality, and to fail to see that we as Christians love these people and the bible is absolute truth(although poorly interpreted by men). Our children will pay for our lack of freedom.

Unfortunately by forcing through laws to futher their choices, fringe society groups who have the hidden agenda of becoming mainstream are not only hurting themselves but society at the same time. (Please read my blog on homosexuality before you condemn me on that subject. I am very open minded in this area).

 
How do we protect the freedom of society, if society as a whole is getting ill?

Freedom is tied to absolute truth! Only God is the ultimate judge.

That’s why I think the escape clause in our charter is inadequate. Once our society gets ill, it can only cause an epidemic! It accelerates demise!
 

What can we do?
 


We can live in true freedom! We can shrug off the pressure to conform!

Freedom is not provided by the law but by allowing God to guide our lives. Love God and our neighbour are the great laws.
 

Unconditional love for those around us should be the norm! If that was the case and everyone complied, we would not need the law to support our relationships.


So how about today we go and love people unconditionally?

Wed, June 9, 2010 | link          Comments

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Chaos, predestination or free choice?

Chaos, predestination or free choice?
Chaos_theory.jpg


Chaos Theory is a 2007 film starring Ryan Reynolds, Stuart Townsend, Emily Mortimer, and Sarah Chalke. The film was shot in Vancouver, Canada.

 
 Have you ever thought about if there is chaos in life or if each event is organized and controlled?

 
If you had my life I can tell you that my life is more chaotic than controlled, with events, occurrences and emergencies that just shake my world on a daily basis!

What is the foundation of the life experience that we have?
 
Are we simply pawns in a life of predetermined events and unable to have free will,
or

do we have free will and know life is not predetermined?

 
The question arises because the bible seems to say both?

The crux of the question seems to be answered when Christ is being presented to the people so they can decide who to kill out of the prisoners and who to save. . .


Mark 15:6
It was the usual practice at the Passover Feast to let one prisoner go free. The people could choose the one they wanted. 

This was there choice back then and today we have a similar choice i to accept Christ or not. It's our "free" choice!

Free choice is central to biblical discussions from the time Eve chose against God during early Earth times.

 
One the other end of the scale are those verses showing predetermination typified by the following examples . . .

Romans 8:30
And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified,

and again in

Ephesians 1:5
he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will. 

These verses seem to indicate a lack of true free choice!

 
Confused? Well that’s to be expected because resolving these two polarities clearly is not going to be fully possible in our lifetime.

 
Part of the problem is our culture that wants everything in its own well defined context with all interrelationships to other items well defined in terms of differences.

 Some o
ther cultures are more willing to say that absolutes are not always as absolute as they seem and that paradoxes are useful for stimulating thought and meditation.

 
This paradox of "free choice" verses "predetermination" is one that seems to bother a lot of people and today I want us to consider it a little.

 
Let’s assume we are playing a game played in Africa where a person has a small stone that they can completely hide within a closed hand. Putting their hands behind their backs they put the stone in the one hand, close both, and then bring them in front of another person who must guess which hand it is in.

 
Alternatively we could think of flipping a coin.

 
Both of these games are games of chance for the person calling the outcome. Done right, the probability of a correct guess is 50% each time and doesn’t change.

 
If you are God however, there is no chance because you are eternal and this means you know the past, present and future simultaneously.

No chance and therefore no surprises. It is as if for each time the coin is tossed or each time the hands presented, the outcome is known 100% of the time with absolute accuracy.

 
Does this change the ability of the human player from making a free choice? No! But it does mean that if God leaned over and whispered the outcome into their ear they would get it right every time.

 
This is one picture to explain how we can have choice and predetermined outcomes at the same time but it doesn’t really show how God can influence reality without our being aware of it and yet keep it within the laws of nature most of the time.

 
Let’s expand our little analogy. Taking the coin toss, lets assume God can flip the coin in the air to force a particular outcome, but that it can be done in some mysterious way that neither of the two players can determine. God could now change the originally outcome for a new one (say ten heads in a row before a tails). Then by carefully flipping more outcomes God can still maintain the 50% of heads over a period of time satisfying the law of probability.

 
This means a scientist measuring the outcome would say that the probabilities are being upheld and the coin was not influenced. However we know it was! That’s because we have information the scientist doesn’t have, and would not believe if he or she did have it.

 
That’s a bit like the Christians life here on earth. God gives us free will, allows us to make the choices, but then based on our prayers he changes natural events. These may not be able to be shown scientifically to have changed, but, because we have the inside scoop, we know they conform to the requests we make to him.

 
Only the player who is getting the communication of what to do and acting upon it will gain! Others will say they are “lucky” but luck has nothing to do with it.

 
When we are in contact with the creator, there is no luck involved in our vibrant experience of life to it’s fullest!

We know we are hearing from God but cannot prove it because God doesn’t want it done that way. We are really responding to the whisper of Holy Spirits voice in our lives.

 
Interesting isn’t it?

 
To come back to the apparent chaos of life! The movie Chaos Theory ends with one actor saying that underlying the chaos of live is a force that makes sense of all the weird screwed up situations we find ourselves in. That force is love, he says.

 
He was talking of human love for another human and that is the second most powerful force.

God says loving him and his loving us is the first most powerful force, and the second is our love for others.
This force overpowers chaos. Let's go and be loving today!

Tue, June 8, 2010 | link          Comments

Monday, June 7, 2010

Do animals interact with God?
Do animals interact with God?
 

How many of us have wonderful animals that mean a lot to us? How about that dog that has been a lifelong companion? How about a cat, horse, or other creature?


Does God care about how animals conduct themselves? Is there anything in the Christian bible that says that animals have the ability to think and make good or bad decisions?


Let’s take a look at one biblical verse to start with. . .

 

Gen 9:5 (NIRV) 

“You can be sure that I will hold someone accountable if you are murdered. I will even hold animals accountable if they kill you. I will also hold anyone accountable who murders another person.”
 

God will hold animals accountable if they kill a person.

Accountability indicates the ability to decide what to do. Animals therefore seem to have choices and in some way they are responsible for their conduct to our heavenly Father.

 

Throughout history mankind and animals have had a relationship.

From the earliest times we see animals tamed and kept, sometimes for their abilities, sometimes for their companionship.

In God’s creation, God put men in charge of animals and we have used that fact in good and bad ways. There is however a link of emotion between us and the animals that we care for. We sometimes give them almost human like capabilities to impact our lives and most of us know how faithful our animals can be even when we fail them.

 

Up in country places we often see dogs sitting at the gate waiting for families to come home, even when they are away for more than a day. It’s also common to have children greeted by the family pet with joy when they come home They have a loyalty that we as humans seem to find difficult to imitate don't they?

 

One interesting discussion around abilities of animals to comprehend things people cannot is found in the story of Balaam, … here it is

 21 Balaam got up in the morning. He put a saddle on his donkey. Then he went with the princes of Moab. But God was very angry when Balaam went. So the angel of the Lord stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam was riding on his donkey. His two servants were with him. The donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road. The angel was holding a sword. He was ready for battle. So the donkey left the road and went into a field. Balaam hit the donkey. He wanted to get it back on the road. Then the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path. The path went between two vineyards. There were walls on both sides. The donkey saw the angel of the Lord. So it moved close to the wall. It crushed Balaam's foot against the wall. He hit the donkey again. Then the angel of the Lord moved on ahead. He stood in a narrow place. There was no room to turn, either right or left. The donkey saw the angel of the Lord. So it lay down under Balaam. That made him angry. He hit the donkey with his walking stick. Then the Lord opened the donkey's mouth. It said to Balaam, "What have I done to you? Why did you hit me those three times?"  Balaam answered the donkey. He said, "You have made me look foolish! I wish I had a sword in my hand. If I did, I'd kill you right now."

 The donkey said to Balaam, "I'm your own donkey. I'm the one you have always ridden. Haven't you been riding me to this very day? Have I ever made you look foolish before?"


   "No," he said.


Then the Lord opened Balaam's eyes. He saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road. He saw that the angel was holding a sword. The angel was ready for battle. So Balaam bowed down. He fell with his face to the ground.”


Okay, lets just ignor the angel stuff and focus on the animal in the story, the donkey! Maybe this story helped inspire the Shrek movbies, because in this story that donkey talks! This implies intelligence (okay so God could have just done it that once but it's still interesting isn't it). 

It is also interesting that the donkey could see more than Balaam and in fact under specific circumstances specially established could speak. This story suggests there is much more to animals than their only being dumb creatures.


Doesn’t this suggest that we should be careful of how we treat our animals? Perhaps there is more to their lives than we understand?


 

One thing I know is God is loving and so if I love those animals that are part of my life, God is sure to do so. What God loves I should take care of shouldn’t I?



 

Well, that’s just something to think about when you next see your pet!

 

Have a great day!

Mon, June 7, 2010 | link          Comments

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Imagination and the real world
Imagination and the real world


 
Can we live without imagination? If I say the word “chocolate covered marshmallows”, can you think of them without using imagination? How about the word “Run?”, “Car”, “Elephant”? 

I am pretty sure nobody has an elephant near you, but when you hear the word, it causes you to immediately see and feel certain things that give us information of elephants. Some people think of a drawing of an elephant, others think of the elephant they saw in the zoo, and I (originally African) think of walking through a herd of 300 elephants in the dark of the night, with the sound of them knocking over trees and ripping at leaves and branches. I think of their smell and how small I was alongside those grown male elephants.


 
Even my description will have added to your image of the elephant. As humans we use our imaginations to help us get to both know and understand reality better. We also use it to create weird creatures and ideas that have no basis in reality. But the "reality" part of imagination is much more important. It makes our emotions get involved. We connect with concepts and ideas through imagination. We even connect with real things better through imagination. Perhaps your connection with elephants changed a bit since I explained my own experience.

 
How we explain things to each other in stories helps us either connect with reality better or less well.

 
God wants us to connect with reality and he wants us to connect with him. Because the Father and Holy Spirit cannot be seen, its harder to feel their love. That’s why Jesus says "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father also. From now on, you do know him. And you have seen him."

 
Jesus is known to us because we have the bible to tell us about him! This means we can use our imagination to connect with him and his love. We use imagination of REAL events to gain this knowledge. Then Jesus says that experience of him can be applyied to Holy Spirit and the Father. The Holy Spirit then also does more than this because he gives us experiences that enable us to know him better. Then, when we think of Holy Spirit, all these good experiences form our image of him.

 
We cannot not use our imagination! Try and not imagine a “monkey” when I say “monkey”! Don’t think of its tail, its human type hands…you failed right!

 
There is nothing wrong with using our imagination well! When it comes to God, take what you know about him and connect with him in prayer. Think of loving things he does, how he considers us more important than we can even consider ourselves. Consider that he would stop a bullet for you or me, and infact did far worse.

He took thorns being crushed into his head, he took nails hammered through his flesh and bones, he took a spear in the side, he took oxygen deprivation and worse, because he knows that if we die without the love of God in our lives we will experience even worse than all this that he experienced. He wanted us to have a way to understand and imagine the power of his love! He wants us to use our power of imagination to change this world for good.


 
Are you up to the challenge?

PS: Apologies for the last version of the blog with all it's mistakes. Sometimes I screw up and I did really on the first version of the blog that was not editted.
Sun, June 6, 2010 | link          Comments


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Rift in Evil

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 RiftInEvil.gifThe town of Zinaville is dropped into a spiral of evil causing a young man and a beautiful but abused woman to launch into an investigation that unveils an evil conspiracy.

A horrific mining accident results in Joshua Robyn's father being killed. Joshua struggles both with himself and his townsfolk as he tries to make sense of an incomprehensible situation. Is it an accident or a murder? Why is there a seeming link to evil? Why is his work environment suddenly threatening? What is the conspiracy about and what are they trying to do? As action moves dramatically from exotic African grasslands to the heart of North America's cities, the plot unfolds and the pace quickens. Will there be time? Why is a beautiful abused young woman in the center of this plot?

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