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Christianity Christmas Navidad Noel Religion Uncategorized

Some thoughts at Christmas

Every year around now, Time Magazine or Maclean’s Magazine or some other publication will feature a sensational story on the Christian religion. Did Jesus exist? Did Jesus marry? Was the Christian story cooked up by his disciples? That last one is strange; do you know of anyone would make up a story in order to get themselves killed? And of course, there are the usual stories about religion, specifically Christianity, creating many of the world’s major problems.

Here’s the other side of the story.

Last week, we attended a Christmas concert put on by the L’Arche community in Calgary. L’Arche is a worldwide organization that provides community to people with varying kinds of developmental disabilities. It was founded 45 years ago, by Jean Vanier, a conservative Catholic, who said: “We are not called by God to do extraordinary things, but to do ordinary things with extraordinary love.”

Here, in part, is a letter that I wrote to my cousin, who is a director at L’Arche Calgary.

We thoroughly enjoyed the program the other night. It reminded us of those old-fashioned Christmases that we used to participate in when we were kids, and I must also say that the people at L’Arche are always great fun and inspiring to visit with. The idea that they  should be sidelined or discarded is appalling on the face of it, but to do so would also be a tremendous loss to society. L’Arche is what Christianity does.

The latest issue of Christianity Today has an article on the Rendille tribe in northern Kenya. Over the past 30 years it has become largely Christian and now has the Bible and other literature translated into their own language. Rendille Pastor David Gargule explained what it means to them. “No child marriages. No female circumcisions. Give every child equal rights. Give a girl equal rights with boys.” That’s what Christianity does.

As you know, in the 1950s and 60s, our aunt Merle was a missionary’s wife, living first in South Africa, and then in what is now Harare, Zimbabwe. While she was in Harare, her father, our grandfather, died. It was 1962 and there was no way for her to return to Saskatchewan for the funeral, or of course, to Skype. It was a very sad time for her.

Two or three times over the years she had told me the story of her houseboy – that’s what they called male house staff back then – who saw that she was sad and treated her even more kindly than usual. One one occasion when he had brought her a cup of tea, she asked him why he treated her with such kindness. He said: “Madam, I love missionaries. I was born the second of twins, and before the missionaries came, the second born twin was always left on the riverbank for the crocodiles to eat. If it wasn’t for the missionaries I wouldn’t be here.” That’s what Christianity does.

At Christmas we usually think of the Salvation Army, but of course they, and World Vision, and Samaritan’s Purse, and L’Arche, and countless other Christian organizations do God’s work, all year round. Recently, the Nobel Peace Prize went to Denis Mukwege, a Congolese doctor, who, inspired by his Christian faith, founded a hospital to help rape victims. Tens of thousands of them. That’s what Christianity does.

There are many more examples of the good things that Christianity does, but I’ll give the last word to Africa hand, Matthew Parris, who a few years ago wrote an article in The Times of London with the headline: “As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God.” He was talking about the Christian God.

Terrible things have been done in the name of Christianity, but that’s not Christianity. True Christianity changes us, and thereby the world. For the better. Always.

** Feel free to forward this or use the stories as you wish.

Have a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

Dave and Meritha

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Categories
Asia Democrats Hollywood IU K-Pop Korea Me Too Movement Uncategorized

Me Too, Korean-ized

DW 1

It’s been just over a year since the “Me Too” movement got it’s start after revelations that Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein, was a sexual predator. Since then, dozens of  big names in Hollywood and Washington and on the international stage, have been implicated for misogynistic and piggish behavior towards women. Until exposed, Hollywood’s actresses loved these guys, in spite of knowing of their misdeeds.

Has it ever occurred to you that about 90% of those accused have been self-styled “Progressivists”? Democrats?You know, the guys that strut and preen and brag about their feminist bona fides? Even Donald Trump’s most outrageous statements and actions were in his days as a Democrat. Thankfully, he’s gradually becoming a conservative.

Since the days of the Kennedys, John, Bobby and Teddy (Democrats), self styled “Progressivists” have overwhelmingly cornered the market for sexual misconduct in Western politics and entertainment. I blogged about it in more detail a few weeks ago.

The female response has been the Me Too movement. Sadly it includes women like Naomi Judd yelling: “I am a naasty woman!” – I agree wholeheartedly – and some other 3d wave feminists making their statement by wearing pussy hats. It does make a statement, but it’s more along the lines of: “Look; I’m an idiot!”

Many of you know that Meritha and I enjoy international television shows and movies. We’ve traveled the world on Netflix, but for the past couple of years have mostly been Netflixing and net-streaming Korean TV series and movies, and even listening to their music. It’s several levels classier and in our opinion better, than Hollywood.

One of our favourite performers is Ji-eun Lee, better known by her stage name, IU. Just 26, she’s an accomplished actress with an inspiring personal story, but is also a musical superstar across Asia. IU2Her latest video is called BBI BBI, (think a referee’s Beep Beep), and soccer’s yellow C A R D. Get 2, and you’re out!

BBI BBI is IU’s version of a polemic against creepy guys, and over-intrusive fans and their endless gossip; a creative and classy, but also very cutting way of setting boundaries. She repeatedly sings: “Hello Stu- P I D”, implying that these stupid abusers are probably so stupid, that they need help spelling stupid. Here is an interesting analysis of the lyrics.

Misogyny and backstabbing is a huge problem in Asia, and IU addresses it head on. And you’ll be impressed by the fact that she does it without swearing. Well, to be truthful, one time “mi’gosh” does slip out. The video with English subtitles is available here)

(Here’s she’s quite different, a bit old fashioned, but the Millennials seem to love it.)

By way of contrast, if you want to see what American pop music is providing to your kids, try these lyrics by Nikki Minaj. Language Warning! I learned about this because one of our granddaughters was pressured, by her teacher, to dance to this salacious garbage for a high school production.

Back to real feminism as I understand it. I was raised in a home where, when mom was busy and Dad had time, he helped with the housework. My grandfather, who was born in 1884, did the same for my grandmother. I never heard either my father or grandfather raise their voice to their wives. And neither of them paraded their “feminism”, because they wouldn’t have known what it meant.

To me, what real feminism is all about is recognizing the important fact, that men and women are different – vive la difference! — but must be treated equally in relationships, and before the law. And in any male-female relationship, mutual respect must be the order of the day. I think that sort of feminism will work!

American feminists with their ridiculous antics, and entertainers with their foul lyrics need to be shunned, and alternatives found. Meritha and I have found that it’s a very rewarding task.

I’m Dave Reesor

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