Friday, November 21, 2014

Arizona Trip 1

Dear Blog:  I have been on a holiday.  It was very lovely.  We saw many wonderful things, met friends and family, and had languid dinners on warm patios, wine, dessert...

(Now I have to get back on my diet.  First protein day, today.  Egg.  Sardines.)

This is my favorite picture, from a favorite place, the artisans' market area in Sedona, down by the river.  We had an outdoor lunch at the Secret Garden, and it was just so beautiful and peaceful to sit there.

The picture is of the seasonal centerpiece of a fountain in the shopping village.  I bought some new age music from a man playing by the canal.  The CD is titled "Sedona Nights".  He said it was inspired by belly dancing music.  I gave him some snake arms and hip drops.  His flyer said that he does past-life regressions, at  $225 for two hours. Not a bad salary, eh?  All the personal testimonies in the flyer had to do with trouble with commitment, issues with mother and wives.  --  It makes you wonder.

My sister-in-law bought a bracelet.  Men sat on benches and in niches waiting for their women to finish shopping...  My husband and his brother sat in the Secret Garden, hopefully not dealing with with their problems with women in their lives. -- I doubt it.  They never talk about us.  Maybe they need a therapist to help them come to grips with the subject matter...  :)  Hehe.





Saturday, November 1, 2014

Fall in Alberta town





Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus


Nabeel Qureshi wrote an important book about his faith and conversion titled "Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus." 



Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity

I picked it up from my friend's coffee table and abducted it.  She wants it back, but I already read half of it in one sitting.  She will get it back soon.  Nabeel I have heard speak before on Youtube videos with Ravi Zachariason, both attractive, well-spoken, intelligent apologists.

His descriptions of his childhood in an Islamic household are endearing and helping us understand Muslim family life and the connected piety.






Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Why do women cry?

This below came across my FB stream.  I liked it. quite a bit.  It could be seen as a bit sappy, but I think it  profound. Usually, not much gets written about women which is sensible or sensitive.  And now it will be politically incorrect to distinguish male and female.  This, in spite of all that has been discovered recently about "brain sex", how the male and female brains differ significantly.  "Male and female he made them."





A little boy asked his mother, "Why are you crying?" "Because I'm a woman," she told him.

"I don't understand," he said. His Mom just hugged him and said, "And you never will."



Later the little boy asked his father, "Why does mother seem to cry for no reason?"

"All women cry for no reason," was all his dad could say.

The little boy grew up and became a man, still wondering why women cry.

Finally he put in a call to God. When God got on the phone, he asked,

"God, why do women cry so easily?"

God said, "When I made the woman she had to be special.

I made her shoulders strong enough to carry the weight of the world, yet gentle enough to give comfort.

I gave her an inner strength to endure childbirth and the rejection that many times comes from her children.

I gave her a hardness that allows her to keep going when everyone else gives up, and take care of her family through sickness and fatigue without complaining.

I gave her the sensitivity to love her children under any and all circumstances, even when her child has hurt her very badly.

I gave her strength to carry her husband through his faults and fashioned her from his rib to protect his heart.

I gave her wisdom to know that a good husband never hurts his wife, but sometimes tests her strengths and her resolve to stand beside him And finally, I gave her a tear to shed. This is hers exclusively to use whenever it is needed."

"You see my son," said God, "the beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair.

The beauty of a woman must be seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart the
place where love resides."

Monday, October 13, 2014

Impact of New Media and Technology on Individuals / Peace Prize

http://www.dw.de/german-book-trade-peace-prize-for-virtual-reality-pioneer-jaron-lanier/a-17989388

Jaron Lanier won the Book Trade Peace Prize in Frankfurt.  He has some interesting cautionary comments about the digital age without being reactionary.  I would like to take a look at him.

While saying that technology still gives him great joy, we need to be aware of the downsides.  There is a severe problem with important losses to security and independence of the individual.

Some of his books are "You are not a Gadget" and "Who owns the future?"

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Jaron+Lanier



Saturday, October 11, 2014

One Hope

One of my favorite little books is this one:

"365 Devotional Readings From Martin Luther:  Through Faith Alone"

http://www.cph.org/p-374-through-faith-alone.aspx

Through Faith Alone


Here is a snippet from June 6 reading:

Persecuted and Blessed
"In every way we're troubled, but we aren't crushed by our troubles.  We're frustrated, but we don't give up.  We're persecuted, but we're not abandoned.  We're captured, but we're not killed."
2 Corinthians 4:8-9
If the world cannot enthrall us with its delights and draw us into its sins, then it tries to drive us out with suffering and torment.  The whole time we are on earth the world tries to deceive us by showing us examples of sin or by cruelly torturing us.  It's like a mythical monster with the head of a beautiful maiden, the body of a lion, and the tail of a poisonous serpent.  The final destiny of the world, with its pleasures and cruelty, is poison and eternal death.
Therefore, God has ordained matters so that the sins of the world end up bringing us blessing.  So also the persecutions of the world aren't useless, but God intended for them to increase our blessings.  So when the world tries to harm us, it ends up serving us and making us better people.
So we see that the entire Bible and all the early church fathers agree that those who try to harm us end up being very useful to us if we patiently endure the suffering.  That is why Peter says, "Who will harm you if you are devoted to doing what is good?"  (1 Peter 3:13).  And we read in the Psalms, "No enemy will take him by surprise.  No wicked person will mistreat him" (Psalm 89:22).  But how can our enemies not harm us when they try so hard to kill us and sometimes even succeed?  It's precisely when they harm us that they do us the most good.  If we are wise, we understand we're living in the middle of blessing and evil at the same time.  It's amazing how God in his goodness moderates it all!
Paul would know.

I like the image of deception:  a head of a beautiful maiden, the body of a lion, but the tail of a poisonous serpent.

I like that God moderates it all, and that both blessing and evil are operating at the same time.

This way, our hope is in Him.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Criticism









"To learn who rules over you, simply find out whom you are not allowed to criticize."

I don't know.  I don't know.
It seems you can't criticize anyone. Is there one person who does not react defensively and angrily?



A perspective on cyberbullying

A thoughtful post on the impact of negativity on social media.


http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2014/10/10/paula-todd-how-cyberbullies-are-ruining-the-greatest-communication-tool-ever-invented/

"All of us are caught in the midst of a digital revolution that is upending the world we know, just as the sexual and industrial revolutions before it. In that context, cyberabus­ers are censors. They are pushing the talented, the ambi­tious, the kind, and the curious offline. And that’s key: the future of the Internet is too important to leave in the hands of its worst netizens.
I tell parents, youth, adults and educators this: If you are online, stay there. If you’re not comfortable, especially with social media, educate yourself. Right now. Whatever you do, don’t shun digital technology. That just paves the way for cyberabusers and means you’ll miss out on the future."

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Liberalism and Our Times

http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/10/08/b-c-woman-says-she-was-rejected-for-job-because-shes-christian-as-company-manager-says-her-religion-offends-norse-culture/

The man does not seem to understand that we have pluralism and multiculturalism in this country.  Also you would think that the Vikings flayed more people than Christians did.

In any case, Norway will soon have issues with Sharia--you would think.  Not homosexual friendly.

Or as someone else pointed out:  the Vikings themselves were not homosexual friendly.

And how were the Norse converted to Christianty?  By the sword and conquistadors?

Today, I also read in a post, that, in a place in the United States, teachers are no longer allowed to address children as "boys and girls", since the phrase is promoting "genderism".

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Some things on Calvinism

Calvinism expose.  I haven't read it all yet.  The beginning looks well reasoned and expressed.

http://orthodoxyandheterodoxy.org/2014/01/09/why-i-stopped-being-a-calvinist-part-1-calvinism-presents-a-dehistoricized-bible/

Sample Quote:

Here’s a case in point: all Calvinists will affirm that during the time of Jeremiah when the people were sacrificing their children to the fires of Molech, this only occurred because it was part of God’s eternal decrees. Yet the Calvinist is also compelled to say that God reveals Himself as being so horrified by the act that, anthropomorphically speaking, He could declare that such a thing had never even entered His mind (Jer. 19:5; 32:35; 7:31). Where does this leave us? It leaves us with a constant discontinuity between God as He is in Himself (i.e., continually decreeing evil) vs. the mode by which God accommodates Himself to us (i.e., continually willing non-evil).
If we dwell on this, it leads to existential problems that can drive a person mad. Calvinists generally recognize this, which is why they continually urge us to bracket off our knowledge of how God really is from How God hasaccommodated Himself to us. In fact, Calvinists have frequently told me not to try to relate to God in terms of what we know to be true with respect to His eternal decrees. For example, even though we know that for everything that happens, nothing could ultimately have been otherwise, we must nevertheless act as if there is an element of real meaningful contingency. Again, we know that the telos of many people is eternal disunion with God, but we must act as if the telos of every person is eternal union with Him. Once again, we know that God does not actually love every person, but we must act as if the statement “He is a good God and loves mankind” applies to everyone. And on and on.
Calvinism thus requires us to constantly suspend belief in order to have a relationship with God. This is especially true when we approach verses like Ephesians 5:1 and Matthew 5:48 about being imitators of God.  A Calvinist believes it would be disastrous to imitate God as He actually is, and urges us only to imitate Him as He accommodates Himself to us.
Again this wouldn’t be problematic if Calvinists were content to say that how God is in Himself is a mystery. The problem arises precisely because the Calvinist does claim to know about God’s so-called ‘hidden will’, namely that it is sometimes opposite to the modes by which God accommodates Himself to us.
What Calvinism teaches about God is thus radically disconsonant with our experience of Him, and a Calvinist can have a meaningful relationship with the Lord only by suspending belief.


http://orthodoxyandheterodoxy.org/2014/01/09/why-i-stopped-being-a-calvinist-part-1-calvinism-presents-a-dehistoricized-bible/

Here’s a case in point: all Calvinists will affirm that during the time of Jeremiah when the people were sacrificing their children to the fires of Molech, this only occurred because it was part of God’s eternal decrees. Yet the Calvinist is also compelled to say that God reveals Himself as being so horrified by the act that, anthropomorphically speaking, He could declare that such a thing had never even entered His mind (Jer. 19:5; 32:35; 7:31). Where does this leave us? It leaves us with a constant discontinuity between God as He is in Himself (i.e., continually decreeing evil) vs. the mode by which God accommodates Himself to us (i.e., continually willing non-evil).
If we dwell on this, it leads to existential problems that can drive a person mad. Calvinists generally recognize this, which is why they continually urge us to bracket off our knowledge of how God really is from How God hasaccommodated Himself to us. In fact, Calvinists have frequently told me not to try to relate to God in terms of what we know to be true with respect to His eternal decrees. For example, even though we know that for everything that happens, nothing could ultimately have been otherwise, we must nevertheless act as if there is an element of real meaningful contingency. Again, we know that the telos of many people is eternal disunion with God, but we must act as if the telos of every person is eternal union with Him. Once again, we know that God does not actually love every person, but we must act as if the statement “He is a good God and loves mankind” applies to everyone. And on and on.
Calvinism thus requires us to constantly suspend belief in order to have a relationship with God. This is especially true when we approach verses like Ephesians 5:1 and Matthew 5:48 about being imitators of God.  A Calvinist believes it would be disastrous to imitate God as He actually is, and urges us only to imitate Him as He accommodates Himself to us.
Again this wouldn’t be problematic if Calvinists were content to say that how God is in Himself is a mystery. The problem arises precisely because the Calvinist does claim to know about God’s so-called ‘hidden will’, namely that it is sometimes opposite to the modes by which God accommodates Himself to us.
What Calvinism teaches about God is thus radically disconsonant with our experience of Him, and a Calvinist can have a meaningful relationship with the Lord only by suspending belief.
Sample:

Here’s a case in point: all Calvinists will affirm that during the time of Jeremiah when the people were sacrificing their children to the fires of Molech, this only occurred because it was part of God’s eternal decrees. Yet the Calvinist is also compelled to say that God reveals Himself as being so horrified by the act that, anthropomorphically speaking, He could declare that such a thing had never even entered His mind (Jer. 19:5; 32:35; 7:31). Where does this leave us? It leaves us with a constant discontinuity between God as He is in Himself (i.e., continually decreeing evil) vs. the mode by which God accommodates Himself to us (i.e., continually willing non-evil).
If we dwell on this, it leads to existential problems that can drive a person mad. Calvinists generally recognize this, which is why they continually urge us to bracket off our knowledge of how God really is from How God hasaccommodated Himself to us. In fact, Calvinists have frequently told me not to try to relate to God in terms of what we know to be true with respect to His eternal decrees. For example, even though we know that for everything that happens, nothing could ultimately have been otherwise, we must nevertheless act as if there is an element of real meaningful contingency. Again, we know that the telos of many people is eternal disunion with God, but we must act as if the telos of every person is eternal union with Him. Once again, we know that God does not actually love every person, but we must act as if the statement “He is a good God and loves mankind” applies to everyone. And on and on.
Calvinism thus requires us to constantly suspend belief in order to have a relationship with God. This is especially true when we approach verses like Ephesians 5:1 and Matthew 5:48 about being imitators of God.  A Calvinist believes it would be disastrous to imitate God as He actually is, and urges us only to imitate Him as He accommodates Himself to us.
Again this wouldn’t be problematic if Calvinists were content to say that how God is in Himself is a mystery. The problem arises precisely because the Calvinist does claim to know about God’s so-called ‘hidden will’, namely that it is sometimes opposite to the modes by which God accommodates Himself to us.
What Calvinism teaches about God is thus radically disconsonant with our experience of Him, and a Calvinist can have a meaningful relationship with the Lord only by suspending belief.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Yale

Ayaan Hirsi Ali brings culture war speech to Yale.

Indeed, what is the matter with us.  When will there be a discussion of the texts of Islam and the content of the faith?  When can we talk about the prophet of Islam and the kinds of things he stood for?

In viewing Islamic apologists on Youtube, we find the same reticence to discuss these subjects.  One of them says:  when Christians come to discuss scripture with you, just leave the Koran on the shelf, it is too holy to enter into such discussions, just demolish their Biblical views.

The Koran is "too holy" to discuss.  We think it must be discussed and dissected.  The real Islam must stand up.  What is it that it teaches?


http://thechristians.com/?q=node%2F1963&utm_source=TheChristians.com+Subscribers&utm_campaign=6e2a99c553-TCH-Issue0363&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e2d8bf6d30-6e2a99c553-61073113

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Rapture Nonsense

http://americanvision.org/11331/finding-cure-rapture-theology-trauma/

http://americanvision.org/4566/life-and-death-and-the-last-days-or-why-eschatology-matters/


When we were in our late teens in Canada, someone tried to indoctrinate us with this in an independent Lutheran church.  Later on came the Left Behind series, and what not.

American creativity has no bounds it seems, to ill effects.  Read the excellent point in the links above. This is not harmless theorizing.  Lives and faiths are ruined by this kind of eschatology.

But God can turn many evil things to good.  One of the best theologians I know, came to the church based on his interest caught by such interpretation.  Since he was a good student of scripture, he soon outgrew the fascination and learned a solid foundation.

Orthodox, Roman Catholics, Lutherans and Calvinists, everyone who insists on a creedal Christianity, is amillenial (no millenium).  When Christ comes at the last trumpet, that is the end of time as we know it. We live under him as our king now, as his kingdom is not of this world, as he said.

Please, everyone else, stop the rapture crap.