Friday, March 13, 2015

On the run

While on the go, I was listening to CBC radio.   The host of Q has been replaced by a rapper named Shad, short for Shadrach.  Anna Maria Tremonti interviewed him, yesterday.  He seemed likable.  His parents were refugees in Africa most of their lives;  this is how he came to be born in Kenya.

The CBC comes under a lot of criticism, but I have to say that it has enriched my life greatly.  When I first came to Canada, I learned proper English speech from it, fluently and intelligently spoken on air.  I learned about politics, writers and musicians, all with the mandatory Canadian content.

I wish Shad well.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Women's Issues / Witches

I attended the World Day of Prayer for the Bahamas this week because our pastor's wife comes from the area and was invited to speak.  The issues for women discussed were sort of the usual and fairly safe to talk about, in that sense.  But there are many things we don't talk about.

On the radio, today, during the news, there was a discussion of the camps of "witches" in Ghana.  For some reason, in that country, some women are seen as witches and they need to flee and find safe haven.  This has been identified as a human rights issue, etc.  

They discussed the case of one particular woman.  She is blind.  But this is not her biggest problem.  Someone in the family died, and she was blamed for it based on supposed witchcraft activity. --The family refuses to take her back.

I was just lying on my living room carpet after praying, willing myself to go to bed for the inevitable spring forward time change, and thought about how many are not seriously interested in Christianity, or don't take it seriously, and how I myself can have my tired out days and moments.  And then I thought about that woman in Ghana, blind and outcast and called a witch.

The only cure for her is the good news of Jesus Christ.  Maybe something can be done about the blindness, maybe her family can learn to care for her and maybe she can forgive them, but the damage is done.  How would you feel.  The fact that she is beloved by the Father in heaven and redeemed through Christ's blood would be the only cure for her heart.  And then doubt can seep in again:  if he loves me how can my life be like this?

If God loves me how come my child died?
If God loves me how come... any number of things?

I don't know why.

I only know I will not throw away my faith.  So help me God.
What good will it do to throw away faith.  And a faith that is on such solid ground.
On the Lord Jesus who came, and taught, and cured, and died and rose for my sins.
And calls me his own.

Dear woman in Ghana, if they all disown you, God still loves you in Jesus Christ and forgives you all your sins.  In your heart, you can forgive your family's sins.  Maybe you can tell them some day.  My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Women's Issues / Honor Diaries

Last night, I finally viewed the "Honor Diaries" on Netflix.  It is only one hour in length and presents the views and voices of a variety of women, some Muslim, some Christian from the Middle East, and some Sikh.

The concept of "honor" is explored, especially in "patriarchal" societies.  The honor of a family seems to be deeply connected to the subjugation and conduct of women.  With Sharia law there are expectations for women's decent behavior but they are not clearly spelled out, leaving women exposed to the vagaries of  subjective judgments and unexpected harassment, dangers and punishments.

Girls are married off as child brides, or have no say in choosing a husband. They must stay in the house, they may be deprived of education, employment, normal freedoms and joys.  They suffer female circumcision, acid in the face, threats, intimidation, beatings and are murdered.  The cruelty is astounding and reprehensible.  How can you treat a child or a woman in such fashion?  How can you treat a wife like a slave?

In the name of "Honor".

We keep hearing that so many millions and billions of people are Muslims;  however, we see that many of them are enslaved, especially the women,  It obvious to say that females make up 50% of the population.

Honor Diaries challenges us to stand with these abused women.

This interesting article on BBC about early satiric cartoons in Islam also illustrates what women deal with:

On Netflix, a recent movie about a girl in Saudi Arabia who would like to ride a bicycle, filmed on location in Saudi Arabia, demonstrates the cruel restrictions placed on women's lives.
It is called "Wadjda".  Wadjda is the name of the 10 year old girl.  She is able to ride a bicycle at the end of the movie, which provides a moment of hope and vision for the future.

I really recommend the movie.  My husband laughed through it, enjoying the girls spirit. I found more to cry about than laugh about.

As a Christian woman, I always feel bewildered by the extremes which abound.  On one hand, we have those who want to radically redefine who and what people are, seemingly hell-bent on abolishing the traditional family, favoring every sexual perversion knowable to man and womankind, and needing to teach every soul about that from Kindergarden on...  On the other hand, we have those who want to repress women sexually, emotionally, vocationally.  They can hardly aspire to anything at all besides bearing male offspring.

There is really only one answer, and it is to promote Christian marriage in the freedom of the Gospel.  We are free to live decently, and honorably, with God's help.   It is for freedom Christ has set us free. Galations 5.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Finnish Broadcaster will read through the Koran beginning March 7

"The Koran will be read from cover to cover on Finnish public radio as part of a new series, it's been announced.
The country's public broadcaster, Yle, has divided the reading into 60 half-hour segments, including a discussion between two experts on the context and meaning of each part. Beginning on 7 March, the project is "intended to increase people's knowledge of the Koran and Muslim culture in Finland", Yle says on its website. A leader from Finland's Muslim community, Imam Anas Hajjar, will discuss each section with Professor Jaakko Hameen-Anttila, who translated the text into Finnish. "It is important that the Koran is read in its entirety, and not just select items that show that Islam is bad and violent or good and beautiful," says Mr Hameen-Anttila. "All of the text material is served up for the listener to assess."
Interpreting the 1,400-year-old text for the series wasn't always straightforward. "We haven't been at loggerheads, but Imam Anas Hajjar and I have often read the same passage and approached it from a very different point of view," the professor says. "Imam Hajjar reads practical, contemporary meanings into the text and I see it as an historic work that is tied to the time in which it was created." An estimated 60,000 Muslims live in Finland, out of a population of about 5.4 million people. Yle says the wider Finnish Muslim community was involved in making the programme and approves of the finished product."

As I said, I started reading the Koran, again, for educational purposes.  Though I have not got too far, at this point, I am hoping to read through it gradually.  It would be good to have CBC radio take up a project like the Finnish broadcaster, so everyone could understand and discuss the text.
Maybe next, they can take up the Bible, and reacquaint the culture with it.

It would be great if our public discourse could include intelligent discussion of holy books. 
I should send this suggestion on to the CBC radio.  

Friday, February 27, 2015


Dear Blog, I have begun reading the Koran.  I have read it before.  But I don't want to write about it.  Not now.  The sorrows around the world are so deep, and there are so many things on my mind.

Here is a poem a friend of mine wrote.  Maybe it can lift us all up.


To live in the community
is a privilege we share,
to lean upon each other
and show that we care.

If you kindly lend an ear
when someone is troubled,
it's said that sorrow is halved
and real joy is doubled.

The hand that you helped
will touch back to you,
with blessings and thanks
for all that you do.

When we each give a little
from our bounteous treasure,
the one who received it
is blessed beyond measure.

When you give from your heart
to the one who's been gifted,
it's like rain on parched soil
and the burden is lifted.

We all need each other
so don't ever stop,
loving your neighbour
you're the cream of the crop.

When one of us suffers
we all tend to bleed,
hearts of compassion
strive to fill in the need.

And try though we may
we don't always know what to do,
though our efforts be feeble
this is our love gift to you.

So thank your dear friends
you have shared out of love,
for all these blessings freely given
are from our gracious Lord above.


I must add that M.P. is one of the most caring people you could ever meet and I am privileged to know her.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Saturday in Lent / Sexuality and Sharia

So many thoughts in our heads.

The Pope said:  for Lent, try to get rid of some "indifference".  Interesting phrase.  The Pope also worries about being killed.  He hopes it would not hurt too much, if it happened to him.

It sounds like he has thought about it.  

The paper is full of contradictory ideas.  The empowered feminists want to let women assert a strong sexuality, just like men.  Women should take back the word "slut" and make it positive.  Be a "good slut".  They find it backfires.  What a surprise.

Also, little children should be taught about being gay or lesbian or transgendered.  Most importantly they should learn about "consent."  

(Would you ever want to be a teacher again?)

A Christian school in England was shut down because children could not explain what lesbians do.

A Muslim woman wants to weir a veil while becoming a Canadian citizen.  It is her identity as Muslim, she insists.  She does not feel right if she does not wear it.  Sharia is all about not giving women rights.  We want to encourage this?  What about our right to see our fellow citizen's face?  Must we look at veils?  In any case, the newspaper says, it seems that is be important to distinguish between religious beliefs and simple habits.  Well, try and draw the line, here, with Islam.  The religion simply seems to be about keeping women down and covered, or enslaved.

ISIS wants to wreck mayhem in southern Europe and take Rome.  Islam has been there before.  It has been at the gates of Vienna.  But now adherents are our fellow citizens.  Some of them don't want us to see them.  Others want to chop our heads off.

This business with headcoverings is always a ploy.  If someone wants to show their piety with such measures, we can be sure that the devil is in it, Luther already told us that in regards to a variety of groups and their special garb.

Piety is not in the hat or veil.  Never.  Piety is a matter of the heart.

Oh, and in Saudi Arabia, the garb can only be black now.  No dark blue or browns allowed.  The police messed up the clothing stores.  These woman in the picture are not dressed properly.

Am I overcoming and indifference, Pope Francis?  

How does one speak to feminists and all these women insisting on choosing to  follow Sharia?

How do we speak to the children?

There should be freedom in clothing choices and fashions, though not all are tasteful or to be recommended.  Women should be basically decent and modest;  it is a good policy much of the time. 
But they also need to assert their human rights and equal value.  

"Honor Diaries" is on Netflix.  I have not seen it yet.  It seems intelligently made.  I will work on my care and love for women oppressed by Sharia law.-- You need not wear the veil.  It really is not part of your identity.  It is also not anything that matters in your relationship with God.  Not one bit. 

It only matters that our sins are forgiven, in Christ.  And our sins are much more serious than the wearing or not wearing of a certain item of clothing.

Let us search our hearts for love of God and neighbor.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

What is Lent

Ash Wednesday 2015 / "Breit aus die Fluegel beide"

Facebook is busy with posts about what fasting means.

As I am always on a diet, I don't really know what fasting is.  The Pope said to let it be a time for overcoming some indifference.  I like that.  Others, including St. Augustine point out that fasting without alms-giving is nothing much. On the other hand just the practice of this piety is to be a humbling prayerfully and spending time with God in repentance and preparation.

Then others warn:  don't make it about self-improvement.  Make sure it is about giving Jesus.

All of them good points.

There are all sorts of things one could let go of.  One other suggestion is to let go of false pride and ambition and to let "good enough be good enough" sometimes.  -- I don't really suffer much from perfectionism, so this one is more for my husband rather than myself.  So here I go repenting for others...  Not the idea.

I have decided, I will use the time to get my household more organized and get rid of superfluous items.  Maybe I can sell them and donate the money.   I have also decided that I can spend less time on Facebook and write someone a letter instead.

Also, I want to share this song, as I shared it with my husband last night.  My mother used to sing it for me and over me.  It made me cry to talk about it.  May the Lord gather in all his little chicks everywhere and guard them from the evil one.

Breit aus die Flügel beide 
o Jesu meine Freude
und nimm dein Kücklein ein
will Satan mich verschlingen
so laß die Englein singen
Dies Kind soll unverletzet sein.

In English translation:

Spread out both your wings
Oh, Jesus, my joy,
and take in your little chick.
If Satan desires to devour me,
so let the angels sing:
this child shall be unharmed.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Islam and Women

It is not as if we are not all overwhelmed with the subject, but it bears being informed about.  While we all know that there are multitudes of honorable Muslim families who love each other dearly, we also know that there is much wrong in the teaching and the ideology.  The abuses need to be uncovered, acknowledged and remedied.  Of course, I would think that adherents should become followers of Jesus Christ, who loved and elevated women, teaching them with much grace, and restoring the most fallen with gentility.  But even without this, human decency teaches us differently from what is actually happening.

This show came across my stream today: a documentary movie called Honor Diaries is being highlighted.  We should all support it.

It looks like it is available on Netflix.  I will try and watch it with my husband.

Another piece that came across was this image summarizing some scriptures that perpetuate abuses:

Thirdly, Barbara Kay discussed the problem with the woman activist who demands to be sworn in as a new Canadian wearing a face veil.  She shows clearly how this demand is different from other accommodations, and the injustice involved with the face veil, as women in a various Islamic societies do not have the option of NOT wearing it.

I am really not much of a feminist, and I have not had reason to be.  The men in my family have all been wonderful, loving, married to one woman at a time, indulgent toward their daughters and granddaughters, encouraging education, etc.  I was able to study or work or stay home when I wanted.  I was able to marry the young man of my young first love.  I have really had to deal with any sort of coercion or denigration.  I think the most denigrating thing that happened to me was that my uncle would not take the girls out on his fishing boat.  Also, my grandmother said that girls do not whistle.  Come to think of it, I have been chastised several times, in my life, for whistling.

But, among all the oppression a woman can face, this abhorrence of her sexuality is the most demonic thing of all the possible oppression.  A woman wants to love and nurture.  A woman wants to marry a prince and be swept away.  A woman wants to give, give, give and receive.  A woman is romantic and wants to be united to a lover...  How can you cut our her clitoris, marry her to ancient men in her prepubesence, raper her, shut her in, allow the punishments allowed in the Koran and Hadith.  Has she no feelings?  Has she no value?  Is she not a human being?

Where are all the feminists?  Where are all the liberal theologians?  Where are all those seeking self-fulfillment?  Will you not stand up for those who are not even allowed to be a human woman, at the most basic level?

Monday, February 16, 2015

ISIS beheads 21 Christians from Egypt / Also in memory of Kenji Goto / Elderly woman scolds Islamist thugs.

Daily there has been cause for tears, with the murderous attacks and broadcasting of atrocities commited by ISIS.

Yesterday, 21 Christians from Egypt were brutally executed just for their belief.  They were young men trying to make a living in Libya.

The event reminds me of Kenji Goto, the Japanese journalist who was executed recently, one of the two Japanese.  He also was a confessing Christian.  This was not widely reported, but can be read here and there.

There is a Wikipedia entry which mentions it:

A tweet of his which has gone viral, is rarely set into context of his Christianity.  But it should be seen in light of his faith in Christ and his belonging to the family of faith.

The tweet gone viral is from Sept. 7, 2010: “Closing my eyes and holding still. It’s the end if I get mad or scream. It’s close to a prayer. Hate is not for humans. Judgment lies with God. That’s what I learned from my Arabic brothers and sisters.”

I also want to remember this courageous elderly woman at haranguing ISIS militants with verses from the Koran.  Unfortunately, the Koran also has verses to embolden the criminals.  Nevertheless, she is to be admired.  She is courage defined.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Maui 6 / Plants

Bamboo forest in the Beyond (after Hana)--an amazing hike.

Orchids in the Walmart Gardening Center.

You cannot imagine the shock of coming back to Alberta, in February, after this.

In Vancouver they wore boots.  In Edmonton the full gear was needed:  boots, hats, scarfs, coats.  It seemed like we had been on an intergalactic flight and ended up on a different planet, as everything was covered in deep snow...

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Maui 5 / Sunrise

The sun rises over the Haleakala volcano at 7:00 AM.  On the way to snorkeling.