Categories
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

20151116_115933

Categories
Christianity Religion Uncategorized

A Useful Book

Dave 07I have two major involvements. One is an online community for common sense conservatives called Let’s Do It Ourselves. Our members include Agnostics and Atheists and Buddhists and Sikhs and Christians and anyone else who thinks government has become too invasive. LDIO™ is non-religious.

My other project is IWUZ; this online blog where I put out my ideas about politics and culture, and occasionally about religion. This is one of those occasions.

My dad was an aircraft mechanic in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II. Dad was a reader, and when I was about 12, I discovered among his collection a couple of books by two Americans; Pulitzer prize-winning author, Ernie Pyle, and a book of war cartoons by Bill Mauldin.

These guys were great supporters of military men and women, and in a very human way, their work brought the day to day reality of the war, to life. They were an essential part of the American war effort, and they also had a wide audience among the rest of the English-speaking, Allied military. I found their books fascinating and read both, several times.

But there was another book that was critical to the military effort. As one soldier wrote after receiving a copy: “I enjoy it very much and I read it every night. I never realized you could learn so much from a Bible.

And indeed, you can. You can learn very practical things like; if you live in a hot country and don’t have refrigeration, you shouldn’t eat shellfish.

You will also learn that several thousand years ago, the ancients already knew, completely counter-intuitively if you think about it, that the universe, and even time itself were not eternal, but had a beginning. Modern science didn’t catch up with that reality until well into the 20th century.

In the Bible you’ll find 10 Commandments that, if they were followed by everyone, would lead to safe, healthy, secure, and happy human society. Of course, not one of us follows those Commandments consistently; the old fashion word is that we sin, and consequently we see sickness and death and unhappiness and insecurity all around us.

Reading through Jewish and Christian scriptures, the Bible, from beginning to end, you will gradually be introduced to the supra-natural First Cause, or Creator of the universe, and you’ll find that Creator, or God, involved with modern humans, every step of the way.

Western civilization is built on that Judeo-Christian foundation.

Christians hold that the most central events of God’s involvement occurred about 2000 years ago, when, in order to identify completely with humans, and, to rescue humans from the consequences of their disregard of his common-sense rules, God himself underwent the human journey of gestation, birth, life, and death.

And then, resurrection. Of course, it all sounds implausible, but then so is the beginning of time, and nature, from NOTHING. If you can accept the Big Bang as it is described by modern science, then a virgin birth or a resurrection are, as miracles go, rather minor events.

Many people have set out to prove that the resurrection was staged, or a conspiracy, or it never happened. But the fact is that it is one of the most widely attested-to events in ancient history. Hundreds of witnesses affirmed Jesus’ crucifixion and death, and then, that they had seen and met with Jesus over the six weeks following. Multiple, hostile, contemporary commentators, agreed that it was supposed to have happened.

And none of the witnesses was ever recorded as having retracted their testimony, even on pain of death. And a lot of them were in fact, put to death. Think about this; people will die for what they believe to be true; but no one, let alone hundreds, have ever been prepared to die for what they know is a lie.

So, simply put, what Christians celebrate at this time of the year is God’s love for every one of us, screwed-up humans. All we have to do, is accept it.

Happy Easter!

** If you’d like a closer look at this subject, I would recommend two books. One is Mere Christianity by CS Lewis; the author of the Narnia Chronicles. The other is: The Case for Christ, by Lee Strobel. Strobel was a legally trained, star reporter with the Chicago Tribune who set out to prove that his wife’s Christianity was delusional. It backfired.

 

Categories
Christianity Climate Gay Rights Religion Science The left Uncategorized

Cool Christians

Dave 07

Recent article in Vice.com. “Meet the woke young people trying to make Christianity cool again.” Apparently, “Cool Christians” totally believe in anthropogenic global warming and climate change orthodoxy, and in human rights and racial equality.

Before reading the story, it had never occurred to me that the point of adopting a worldview, like Christianity, or Islam, or Atheism, was to be cool, but rather, to find, and live in the truth. I still believe that.

But anyway; is it true that human produced CO2 is the major driver of climate change, and the warming trend? Since the current warming began about 1850, which is recognized as the end of the Little Ice Age, – Cold! Advancing glaciers! Frost in July! – it would seem that the current warming is natural Thousands of climate scientists agree. (Don’t bother fact checking at the CBC)

As for climate change itself; if we could bring up the spirits of our ancestors going back for the last hundred thousand years, it would be instructive to ask them if they think climate change is something new. Of course, from history and from the geological record,  we know that it’s not. So, while believing in catastrophic, human caused, global warming and climate change may be cool, it simply isn’t true.

Genuine Christian belief has always supported the right of all people, to respect, and security, in the broader community. (Like any organization, the Christian church has a right to set its rules for membership. And as with any group of humans, there are people who don’t follow the rules.)

It seems to me that respect should go both ways. A same-sex couple’s right to live in peace and security does not include them being able to force others to participate their choices.  My choice does not override your freedom.

For instance, whether or not to marry is a choice. Gay or straight, your choice to marry depends on someone else agreeing to that choice. And your choice of caterer, or officiator should depend on said individual agreeing to that choice.

I think we’ve gone way overboard in conflating fundamental rights, with an ersatz right to force someone else to acquiesce to, or even participate in our choices. In fact, I’m enough of a small L libertarian to say that if a condominium owner doesn’t want to rent to old white heterosexual couples, that’s their right. And I’d defend it.

I’d even say that if the fire department refused my choice to fulfill my lifelong dream to become a firefighter, (it isn’t) simply because I’m too old, that should be their right. Oh yeah; it always has been their right. Institutionalized Ageism!

Further to marriage; considering that it’s a biological fact that we evolved / were created, to mate heterosexually, I’d still tend to agree with the Supreme Court of Canada which said, about 25 years ago: “Throughout its history, marriage has been fundamentally about children, and is therefore, by nature, heterosexual.”

Of course marriage is no longer fundamentally about children, but rather about adults living out their choices. Let’s at least acknowledge, that after thousands of years, the fundamental definition of marriage has been changed.

Referencing the latest LGBTQ “rights” fad; while your insisting that that a child with a penis might be a girl!!, may be almost too cool to be true; the question is, is it true? There remains some doubt.

Finally, racial equality. My Mennonite (Christian) ancestors moved to Pennsylvania in 1739 and immediately joined a letter writing campaign opposing slavery, directed at the U.S. Congress. I’ve seen one of the letters. They kept it up until 1865, when Lincoln freed the slaves.

In Britain, an evangelical Christian named William Wilberforce spent almost his entire lifetime opposing slavery, and finally succeeding in having it outlawed throughout the British Empire. That was the first time, in human history, that slavery had been expunged from a society.

Jesus himself, by very pointedly and purposefully telling his disciples and the Jewish leaders of the day the story of the Good Samaritan, was setting the standard for interracial/intercultural attitudes. To the Jewish elites of that day the very term, Good Samaritan, was an oxymoron. They regarded Samaritans the same way that ISIS, and the extremists of the left and right, and those lonely nutters in the KKK, currently regard Jews.

Black Lives Matter? What about Asian, and Southeast Asian, and Native American lives? Dare I even ask: “What about old white Canadian lives?”

Anyway, when Christians think and act as racists, they’ve gone rogue. The rule hasn’t changed. But then, Christianity is all about the fact that we’ve ALL gone rogue in one way or another. In the movie “Unforgiven”, Billy the Kidd tells Clint Eastwood’s character that he’d shot one of the bad guys, but that: “He had it coming.” Eastwood’s character growls: “We all have it coming.”

And so we do. Christmas, Good Friday, and Easter are the answer to that grave truth.

Tomorrow is Remembrance Day when we remember all those young people that lost their lives defending freedom. So let’s remember.

And then let’s continue to remember next week, and next month, and in the years to come; that freedom isn’t free. Nor is it guaranteed.

I’m Dave Reesor

Categories
Abortion Alberta Politics Big Government Bullies Canadian Politics Christianity Conservatarians Gay Rights HEALTH Hypocrisy Politics Public Education Religion Social Issues Socialism The left Uncategorized US Politics

Restoring Moderation

Dave 07There’s been a lot of talk lately about the need for a moderate conservatism. I agree.

Progressivist Conservatives often tell us that they are fiscally conservative but socially progressive, in other words, they are models of moderation.

What it really seems to mean in practice is that you must timidly support every  social initiative of the Progressivist Left, no matter how intrusive, anti-human rights, anti-family, anti-science, or, outright perverted.

The fact is that on most social issues, our society has completely abandoned moderation.

Because let me ask you:

Is it immoderate to oppose government initiatives that completely ignore the UN’s Declaration of Human Rights, which explicitly states that it’s not the government, but parents, who have a “prior” or first right, to decide on the education of their children?

Was it immoderate for Theresa Ng to reveal that Alberta’s taxpayer financed Gay Straight Alliance, or GSA website provided links to over 20 sexually explicit websites?

Kris WellsThat GSA website is approved for children ages 5 to 18, but Kris Wells the guy in charge, didn’t think Theresa’s concern was moderate. He called her hysterical and sensationalist. On what dystopian planet would you draw that conclusion?

Is it immoderate to affirm the scientific and biological, and obvious reality of two genders?

Is it immoderate to oppose government initiatives, that seek to normalize gender dysphoria in children, against the findings of science, and, simple common sense? Those initiatives constitute government sanctioned child abuse.

Is it immoderate for a politician to give a pass to Gay Pride Parades (LINK WARNING: severe stupidity on display)  – those Flasher Festivals where addled parents flaunt their Progressivist bona fides by taking their kids to gawk at naked men? In saner times, it would be considered child abuse.

Is it immoderate to point out the irrefutable scientific fact, that a human being’s life journey begins at conception, and that at no point is a fetus a part of a woman’s body. It is in her womb for protection and nourishment, but it has its own DNA, its own blood type, distinct heartbeat, and even personality!

Is it immoderate to insist that we need to have an honest conversation about abortion, and to enact a law to give the fetus protection after a certain stage of its development? Could we at least outlaw aborting baby girls, just because they’re girls?

The fact is, that it’s the current governments of Alberta and Ontario and Canada that are immoderate.

Most of the mainstream media is giddily proud of their immoderate social views.

Much of Hollywood is immoderate to the borders of insanity.

It’s past time for real moderates – that would be those of us who don’t ignore biology and science, and who have a high regard for observed reality – to make our voices heard, and call out the im-moderation of the Progressivist Left.

You can make your voice heard by joining these organizations. Theresa Ng, Parents for Choice: Donna Trimble, Informed Albertans, and John Carpay, Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedom.

Donna TrimbleTheresa NgJohn Carpay

And please help us, by joining the Let’s Do It Ourselves online community.

But, there’s a crisis in Alberta, right now, and it requires your immediate attention.

  1. Buy a membership in the Wildrose Party of Alberta; deadline July 8, and
  2. Buy a membership in the Conservative Party of Alberta; deadline July 12.
  3. Then on July 20-22, vote to Unite the Right.

Join both parties, online, for just $10 each.

Because Alberta’s Progressivist Left is actively encouraging their supporters to buy memberships, so that they can vote to stop the Unite the Right initiative.

We can’t let them. Common sense conservatives must unite or take the risk of another four years of Rachel Notley’s NDP; possibly the most radically immoderate government in Canadian history.

If you don’t get involved, the NDP could be in power until 2023, and you will regret it, because the cost to the finances and freedoms of your children and grandchildren would be terrible.

Please, join each of the parties right now, and on July 20-22, vote to unite!

Sincerely

Dave Reesor

Categories
Christianity Muslim Religion Uncategorized

A Muslim Merry Christmas!

Dave 07One evening last weekend Meritha and I stopped in at Begim for a bite to eat. Begim is an Uzbek restaurant in Forest Lawn, a Calgary suburb loaded with ethnic eateries.

Begim is run by a Muslim family, the Madjanovs; Dad Kamil, Mom Mastura, brother Nodir and sister Nigura. The parents were dentists in Uzbekistan, and the family members all carry on working in the medical profession here in Canada. But, they also run the restaurant, working , like many entrepreneurs, a horrendous number of hours each week.

During the visit we enjoyed some of their beautifully presented food, and then had a chat with Mom, Mastura. To celebrate the season, the restaurant had garlands and lights artistically placed around the room, so I complemented her on their “Muslim Christmas decorations.”

She chuckled and said that they had always celebrated Christmas in some way, even back home in Uzbekistan. Then she held her hands close together, palms facing each other, and said: “We don’t see people this way; and spreading her arms wide she said: “we see them this way.”

“How Canadian,” I thought to myself, and, “what a perfect illustration of the Christmas story”.  Jesus himself said that God loved the world so much that he sent Jesus, and that whoever simply believes in him, will not perish, but will live forever. Genuine Christian faith is one with arms spread wide.

Now, I’m well aware that Christian denominations, and many Christian individuals, have tragically misrepresented and abused the title “Christian”, for a variety of nefarious purposes. But that no more negates the true message of the Christian faith than does a dystopian North Korea which absurdly calls itself, “The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”, negate the true meaning of democracy. And on balance, the innumerable individual and organized good works done by Christians over the centuries vastly outweigh the hypocrisies.

But back to Begim. (Photo by John Gilchrist) Over 6 or 8 visits, it’s become one of our favourite restaurants, run by a warm family, with excellent food and great prices. For tea, two different salads, and a wonderful rice and lamb dish topped with a perfectly roasted, whole bulb of garlic, we were presented with a bill for under $25.

And we took nearly half the food home for lunch the next day. Merry Christmas to us!

And Merry Christmas to each of you!

Begim.png