Thursday, December 31, 2009

Canadian ecumenical organization KAIROS loses federal government funding because of its extreme anti-Israel views

A good news story (from the government of Canada, no less!) that deserves wider attention: KAIROS, an ecumenical church organization in Canada ostensibly dedicated to social justice* and composed of the usual suspects, has been defunded by the government of Canada after 35 years of receiving government (i.e., taxpayer) money because of its extreme anti-Israel views. You can read the details at my friend Ezra Levant’s blog here, here, and here. I found some of the financial details in their 2008 annual report "verrry interesting." As Mr. Levant comments (links in original):

KAIROS wanted $1.8 million a year from the government -- that's basically a fully-staffed political war room, dedicated to their radical point of view. If KAIROS really is, as its website boasts, the political voice of the Anglicans, Catholics, Mennonites, United Church, etc., that money should be a snap to replace -- not much more than a dime per member of its constituent churches, really. Because KAIROS really is speaking for its members, isn't it?

If you remain unpersuaded of the case to let KAIROS's members support it, rather than taxpayers, perhaps I can draw your attention to their last annual report. Here are some of the things they spend your money on:

Fundraising and overhead: $800K
"Energy justice": $500K
"Public engagement": $400K

That's all pure politics -- and it just happens to equal the amount of dough they're demanding from the government. By contrast, "anti-poverty grants" only account for $148K, or just 3.7% of their budget.

It's pretty grotesque when a so-called Christian organization is so busy beating up on Alberta, Israel and Colombia that it only has 3.7% of its money left over for Jesus-y things like helping the poor. But then again, according to KAIROS's honcho, Bill Phipps, Jesus wasn't God anyways.

If just 20% of a televangelist’s expenditures went toward administration and fundraising, he’d be accused of ripping people off, and there would be calls for an official investigation. Contrast KAIROS’ expenditures to those of HOPE International Development Agency, a Christian relief agency from Canada whose theology is less liberal. From HOPE International’s 2008 Financial Summary:

In and for overseas programs: 84.6%
Information and education in Canada: 2.3%
Administration and fundraising: 1.9%

By the way, the fact that KAIROS has been funded by the government of Canada for 35 years is more evidence that, contrary to the secular image of the country that's so popular now, strict separation of church and state is not (and never has been) a traditional Canadian value or practice.

*Whenever I hear the phrase "social justice" or equivalent words, I'm reminded of Malcolm Muggeridge's comment on John 12:3-7, when Jesus was anointed with expensive perfume, and Judas Iscariot protested that the perfume could have been sold, and the proceeds given to the poor. Mr. Muggeridge observed that it was the disciple with the strongest commitment to social justice who ended up betraying Jesus.

January 4, 2010 update: Ezra Levant has new posts here and here regarding attempts by KAIROS to delete incriminating web pages.

June 6, 2010 update: From HOPE International's 2009 Financial Summary:

In & For Overseas Programs: 84.4%
Info & Education in Canada: 2.2%
Administration & Fundraising: 2.1%

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

30 years ago: NBC broadcasts the anti-biblical movie Mary and Joseph

For those too young (or too old?) to remember, false depictions of biblical characters and narratives in popular culture have been going on for decades. The made-for-television movie Mary and Joseph has seldom been shown since its original broadcast in 1979, and like its blasphemous predecessor Jesus of Nazareth (which was broadcast on NBC in 1977 and again, in a longer version, in 1979), has been, fortunately, forgotten. Lee Winfrey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, in his column On Television, commented on the press release sent out by NBC a month before the first broadcast of Mary and Joseph:

Philadelphia Inquirer, November 8, 1979
NBC rewrites the Bible in story of the Virgin Mary And Joseph
by Lee Winfrey
On television

The television industry, which has falsified the lives of so many famous people in the past, has now decided to make up new biographies for the Virgin Mary and her husband Joseph.
If you don’t recognize the parents of Jesus when you see them portrayed in "Mary and Joseph: A Story of Love," scheduled to air Dec. 9 on NBC (Channel 3), don’t blame yourself. The network made up most of this yarn without any Biblical basis.
Here is how NBC describes the plot in a press release:
"Mary, a youg woman of humble background, meets Joseph, a nobleman who rescues her from an assault by a Roman soldier. After the Romans murdered his family and burned their lands, Joseph began a new life as an apprentice to his Uncle Matthew, a carpenter, who was a follower of Judah, a rebel Zealot.
"As Mary grieves for her father, Joachim, who was hanged for treason, she hears the voice of Gabriel, who tells her she will bear the Messiah, the holy Son of God. When she somewhat tearfully bares her soul to the townspeople of Nazareth and they learn that she is indeed pregnant without a husband, Mary is judged an adulteress and is sentenced to death by stoning.
"Though Joseph does not believe that God is the creator of her unborn child, he again comes to her rescue by falsely admitting the paternity of her child. As a result of his admission, he endures flogging. The beginning of a closer relationship is established, a bond that culminates on the night when Mary goes into labor and the Christ child is born."
Nowhere in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke or John is there any mention that Joseph met Mary when he rescued her from rape, that the Romans murdered Joseph’s family, that Mary’s father was hanged for treason, that Mary was sentenced to death for adultery, or that Joseph was flogged. All of these embellishments are the creation of scriptwriter Carmen Culver.
Mary is played in this TV special by Blanche Baker, the daughter of actress Carroll Baker. Joseph is portrayed by Jeff East, who played the teen-aged Clark Kent in the recent movie "Superman." While admitting that most of the story is false, they still think it’s all right.
"I think most of it is fictional," said Miss Baker. "It’s not really a documentary about what the Bible really says."
Although the ages of Jesus’ parents are not mentioned in the gospels, it has been traditionally believed that Joseph was much older than Mary. In the "Mary and Joseph" special, however, they are both teenagers.
"What I think the producers and writers are trying to do is make this a more attractive story, put in a Romeo-and-Juliet element instead of having him an older man," East said.
Miss Baker argues that at least the background for this tale is correct, even though the special "is not even pretending to be the story in the Bible. They take things from the time and make those things accurate, like how they baked bread.
"As actors," Miss Baker enthused, "what you see is a great part. You think, oh-ho, a classic part and I’m so young."
Despite all the defenses of "Mary and Joseph" offered by the two principals and by NBC, I think this is appalling. Chances are good that millions of children, and probably several thousand adults as well, will assume that this fanciful special represents what the Bible really says.
What possible purpose is served by slapping together a pack of lies about the parents of Jesus and airing it during the Christmas season? What should we expect next? Old Moses rejuvenated into a young John Travolta, disco dancing down Mount Sinai with an armful of stone tablets?
Surely there must be a few historical characters whose stature is sufficient to place them above video misrepresentation. Until I heard about "Mary and Joseph," I thought the parents of Jesus were among them.

Mr. Winfrey was ahead of the curve in his mention of Moses. The 1993 movie ...And God Spoke (the making of...) was a humourous depiction of producers who want to make a movie based on the Bible, but who haven’t read the Book, and are too lazy to do so. They show Moses, played by Soupy Sales, walking down Mount Sinai carrying a six-pack of cans of a certain drink, using the unsubtle product placement to help finance their film.

Here is Mr. Winfrey’s review of Mary and Joseph when he finally got to see it:

Philadelphia Inquirer, December 6, 1979
‘Mary and Joseph’ on NBC: Poor by Any Artistic Standard
by Lee Winfrey

About halfway through a television special called "Mary and Joseph: A Story of Faith," Joseph is wondering how his wife, the Virgin Mary, got pregnant.
"Who did this?" he asks her. "What am I supposed to believe? That God made you pregnant? Who was it, Mary? I suppose if was your gypsy, the one who can make you laugh."
Mary’s claim that the child she is carrying is the son of God gets her in trouble with the local authorities. She is sentenced to be stoned to death. Joseph asks mercy for her on the grounds that maybe she’s a little bit loony.
"She’s young and irresponsible," he tells the judge. "I’m sure when we’re married, these claims will stop."
Swayed by Joseph’s plea, the judge decides to be merciful. The stones remain uncast. Joseph is flogged.
This unique tableau, unmentioned in the Bible, is a brainstorm from the fertile imagination of Carmen Culver, the scriptwriter for "Mary and Joseph." Miss Culver’s free-wheeling adaptation of the courtship and marriage of Jesus’ parents will air this coming Sunday night on NBC (Channel 3).
It all turns out all right in the end. In line with the Biblical account, Joseph accepts that Mary’s child is divine after the angel Gabriel speaks to him while he is sleeping. It’s a little disconcerting to hear Gabriel speaking in a British accent, sounding a great deal like a BBC radio announcer, but at least here Miss Culver didn’t make up any dialogue.
"Mary and Joseph" reels and stumbles along like this for three hours, mixing the old narratives of Matthew and Luke with modern yarns the old apostles never mentioned. Mary’s father, Joachim, is crucified on this show, for example, as a plot device to set this extravaganza into motion. Hitherto, Joachim has escaped such painful fate, but here it’s just considered good show biz to nail him up.
About the only good thing to be said about this show, which I saw in preview here Tuesday, is that it has been toned down to try to meet some of the protests that have been made about it since the first announcement of it last month.
For example, in the original version, Mary was to have been convicted of adultery. Now, it has been left ambiguous as to whether she is sentenced to die for adultery or blasphemy. You can decide for yourself whether that’s an improvement.
Aside from the question of whether it is wise or necessary to hype up such an old and much-beloved story as that of Mary and Joseph, the result here is a poor television show by any aesthetic standard. As movie critic Judith Crist observes in the Dec. 8 issue of TV Guide, this show is "pedestrian and pretentious...it attempts to ‘humanize’ biblical characters and events and vulgarizes them instead."
Blanche baker portrays Mary with no particular distinction. But Jeff East as Joseph is far worse. He makes the father of Jesus look like a wimp. East is not shocking or obnoxious. He just makes you want to look away from him, and wish that Joseph had been portrayed with more character and strength.
Too often, NBC’s attempt to "humanize" Mary and Joseph just winds up making them look sophomoric. On their way to Bethlehem, Joseph frets, "I should never have taken you. I’m such an idiot." "I’ve known it all along," Mary giggles in reply.
To justify this farrago, three principal arguments have been advanced by defenders of this show.
NBC has developed a theory it calls "writing to silence." In general, this theory holds that if you are doing a show about historical figures, and you come to a place where history is mute, it’s all right to fill in the blanks with newly conceived action sequences like Mary’s trial and Joseph’s flogging.
I remain uncomfortable with this carefree conception. It leaves the door wide open to mischief, misunderstanding and misrepresentation. It is a hunting license with no limit on hipshooting.
Another theory, advanced recently in the Philadelphia Bulletin by TV critic Rex Polier, suggests that TV shows like "Mary and Joseph" are no worse than the old biblical movies produced by the late Cecil B. DeMille.
I think this is unfair to DeMille. His best-known religious movies, such as "The King of Kings," "The Ten Commandments," and "Samson and Delilah," stuck to stories where the Bible contained a great deal of narrative material. The first mistake made with "Mary and Joseph" was to try to make a three-hour show out of the few scarce sentences recorded about them. Inevitably, fresh fables must be forced into service to fill the time.
A third theory is that of Thomas M. Battista, vice president and general manager of KYW, commenting against the backdrop of 5,000 letters of protest his station has received about this show.
"It certainly is a fictionalized version of the biblical story," he conceded. "I wish it were a better show, quite frankly."
But Battista concluded: "It is not a documentary. I am not offended by it. I accept it as a movie, nothing more than that."
One of the problems with TV is that, too often, it plays fast and loose with material like this. One of the reasons this dubious tradition continues is the attitude of TV executives who believe that the show they put on is only "a movie, nothing more than that."

According to Carl McIntire ("A Filthy Christmas Film," Christian Beacon, December 13, 1979, pp. 1, 3), who equated Mary and Joseph with the earlier blasphemous made-for-television movie Jesus of Nazareth:
...Both of these films bear the same stamp of unbelief. In the demonstration [on December 10 in front of KYW-TV] in Philadelphia only about 100 persons came. Only three Roman Catholics held up their hands. The visit of the Pope has so mesmerized them that they did not have either the time or discernment, the inclination or the will to waste any time over Mary’s being presented to the nation as a sinful woman.
Where were the Fundamentalists?
These two films registered the spiritual temperature of the nation, which is very low. Christianity is dying in the hearts of the people...

Friday, December 25, 2009

Rick Warren libels Christian author and activist Scott Lively

Pope Rick I (pbuh) claims to promote "civility," but he doesn't always live up to that. His LETTER TO THE PASTORS OF UGANDA, contains a section titled Key Facts Concerning Recent Media and Blog Reports on Rick Warren’s Position on Uganda, which includes the following:

8. Do you know Scott Lively?
No. I do not know Scott Lively and have had no contact with him regarding Uganda or any other issue. I would certainly not associate with anyone who denies the Holocaust, one of the greatest tragedies in human history.

Mr. Lively is president of Abiding Truth Ministries and co-author, with Kevin Abrams, of the book The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party, which went through four print editions from 1995 to 2002, with a fifth edition now (2009) available on the Internet. When one thinks of the word "Holocaust," what comes to the minds of most people (including this blogger) is the Nazi genocide of Jews in World War II. Dr. Warren's statement in the paragraph cited above creates the impression in the mind of the reader that Mr. Lively is denying the genocide of the Jews. The frequent use of the term "holocaust revisionist" (even his homosexual activist critics don't call him a "holocaust denier") to describe Mr. Lively has nothing to do with Jews, but rather with a denial to homosexual activists of their treasured status as Holocaust victims. Mr. Lively doesn't deny that homosexuals were killed by the Nazis, but argues that those killed were a relatively small number and were effeminate homosexuals, especially those associated with the Communist Party, as opposed to the butch homosexuals associated with the Nazi movement and party. I call upon Rick Warren to repent of his smear against Scott Lively.

P.S. It seems that the situation regarding the bill in Uganda isn't being reported accurately or completely, according to Last Days Watchman.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A false Jesus on Youtube

Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. I John 2:18

One such character calling himself "IAMJESUS" can be found at Youtube as well as his own site, Kingdom of God Cornerstone, where he claims New York as his base. All his "movie" says is, "Jesus Christ has returned. I AM.."

At the top of his Kingdom of God Cornerstone home page, the Star of David, cross, and crescent are depicted, above the words NEW JERUSALEM; JEW CHRISTIAN MUSLIM; UNITED AS ONE. I knew I'd seen something like that before, and I realized that it was similar to the "Coexist" message promoted by the music group U2 during their Vertigo Tour in 2005. For photos of U2's use of the Coexist logo, go here. Coexist now promotes itself as "A Lifestyle Movement."

Looking at the profile of "IAMJESUS," he gives his age as 47, and under "About Me" he says, "I AM JESUS CHRIST," and gives his occupation as "KING."

Interestingly, false prophetess Jeane Dixon claimed to have a revelation that the antichrist was born on February 5, 1962, which would make him the same age as "IAMJESUS." (Not that I believe in the accuracy of Jeane Dixon's "prophecies;" especially do I not believe that her "prophecies" came from God.)

HT: Dracul Van Helsing

September 5, 2011 update: Some symbols have been added to the "Coexist" logo to make it even more inclusive, according to Kurt Schlichter.

Good riddance to Oral Roberts

On the occasion of the death of Oral Roberts (or, as astute social critic James Stolee called him, "Anal Roberts"), I don’t want to take the time to go into detail about his false teachings, false prophecies, and various scandals. I recommend reading the posts at On Doctrine; Surph’s Side; Christian News and Views; and Let Us Reason. The reader may also want to look for the book Give Me That Prime Time Religion by Jerry Sholes, published in 1979.

Carl McIntire put it succinctly in the Christian Beacon:

Oral Roberts Cannot Raise the Dead

Evangelist Oral Roberts has told the world in his assembly of some 5,000 of his people that he has by his miraculous power brought the dead back to life. It was Jesus Christ who had this power and demonstrated it beyond all doubt when Lazarus had been dead for four days. When and where has Roberts performed any deed of this nature?

Roberts shocked many when he gave orders to God that he had to provide him with $8 million; and before he was finished, God had dutifully done so through a man who made his money gambling.

Roberts, if he has revealed anything, has given evidence that his tongues and his visions have come tom him from the prince of the power of the air, the old Devil himself. The one sure accomplishment is that he has further and convincingly discredited the whole charismatic activity, which is deceiving both the public and Christians today.

Roberts went as far as to announce that when he returns at the time of Christ’s return, he will rule alongside of Jesus Christ. He promoted himself to a position which only God can give, and he presumed to invade God’s domain again.

When the disciples asked some questions of Jesus concerning this realm, He did tell them that they would sit on 12 thrones, ruling the 12 tribes of Israel (Matt. 19:28).

Oral Roberts presumes to tell God what seat He will give to him alongside Jesus Christ. The man is not senile; he is Satan’s minister. For the Scriptures do say that the spirit of antichrist is already here, and Oral Roberts belongs to that kingdom...

Christian Beacon, Vol. LII, Number 21, July 2, 1987, pp. 1-2

The perceptive reader will note that Mr. Roberts was unable to prevent himself from dying. As Walter Martin said, "There's one illness from which you will not recover, and that is: your last one."

As an aside, Robert Frank, a Swiss-born photographer who moved to the United States as a young man, published a book in 1959 titled The Americans. One of the photos in the book was Restaurant--U.S. 1, Leaving Columbia, South Carolina, taken in 1955. I’ve always found the image rather haunting and disturbing. What makes it more so is that the image on the television screen is Oral Roberts.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Israeli archaeological discovery on Hasmonean rule backs up Josephus

Just in time for Hanukkah (or Chanukah, if you prefer), this report from Israel:

Israeli archaeologists have made a stunning historical discovery: a Hasmonean king conquered Gaza and the Negev, and for decades prevented the Nabateans of 2,000 years ago from using the Incense Road. It was the Incense Road that the Nabataeans used to transport precious spices such as myrrh and frankincense to the Mediterranean Sea and Egypt.

HT: Southwest Radio Ministries

Joe Gray of Chosen People Ministries has a post on Hanukkah at Messianic Moments.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

A telephone conversation between Richard Nixon and Billy Graham--February 21, 1973

"Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"
"To the curious incident of the discussion of the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in Roe v. Wade, which had the effect of legalizing abortion througout the United States."
"There was no discussion of abortion or the recent Supreme Court ruling."
"That was the curious incident."

Paraphrased from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's short story The Adventure of Silver Blaze

Bruce Wilson of Talk to Action is a blogger whose perspective I generally disagree with, but he does post interesting items sometimes. One of his recent posts was a transcript that he prepared of a telephone conversation between U.S. President Richard Nixon and evangelist Billy Graham that took place on February 21, 1973. I encourage the reader to examine the transcript, or better yet, download the recording and come to your own conclusions.

It was Mr. Nixon who made the call, and it was apparently the first conversation between him and Mr. Graham in some time. On January 22, 1973 the Supreme Court of the United States, with its abominable Roe v. Wade decision, had legalized abortion on demand throughout the United States. One might think that America's best-known evangelist, while he has the ear of the president, might want to bring the topic up for discussion, but there isn't a word on the subject from Billy Graham--a "curious incident" indeed.

The conversation contains some references to events and people that current readers (including even this blogger) may not be familiar with, so I offer the following to fill in some blanks. My source for some of this is the 1974 World Almanac and Book of Facts.

--Watergate was starting to gain momemtum as a scandal, but so far only the men who had perpetrated the actual break-in at the Watergate building in 1972 had been tried. On February 7, 1973 the United States Senate voted to form a seven-member panel to further investigate the affair. The next day, Sam Ervin was named to head the panel. So far there were no links to President Nixon, so it's not surprising that the issue didn't come up in this conversation.

--On December 18, 1972 President Nixon ordered the so-called "Christmas bombing" of Hanoi for the purpose of bringing the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong to the negotiating table. The bombing ended on December 30, and on January 27, 1973 the U.S.A., South Vietnam, North Vietnam, and Viet Cong signed an agreement ending the war in Vietnam. Operation Homecoming began on February 12 when 142 American prisoners of war were released; they began arriving in the United States on the 14th.

--"Mrs. Meier" was actually Golda Meir, Prime Minister of Israel.

--On February 21, Israeli planes shot down a Libyan civilian jetliner which had strayed over Israeli-occupied Egyptian territory in the Sinai Desert on a routine flight from Benghazi, Libya to Cairo. The final death toll was 108. Israeli officials claimed that they had intercepted the plane as a last resort after the French pilot had ignored instructions to land. Libyan Foreign Minister Mansur Kikhia called the downing a "criminal act." On February 22--the day after this telephone conversation--Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan called the event a "tragedy," but blamed the pilot. The same day, the Cairo airport produced a tape that indicated that the pilot, having lost his way due to instrument failure, had believed he was over Egyptian territory pursued by Egyptian MiGs and was unaware of instructions to land until he was being shot down. On February 24, Mr. Dayan conceded that Israel had made an "error of judgement" on the nature of the intrusion, but emphasized the shared responsibility of the pilot. On February 25 Mr. Dayan announced that Israel would pay compensation to the families of the victims.

--John Stennis was a 71-year-old Democratic U.S. Senator from Mississippi who was shot in front of his home in Washington on January 30 in an apparent robbery attempt. The Senator underwent more than 6 hours of intensive surgery at Walter Reed Hospital and was still resident there, although reportedly "much improved" when three men were arrested on March 12 in connection with the shooting. Harold Hughes was a Democratic U.S. Senator from Iowa.

--the names of Doug Coe and Mark Hatfield will be familiar to anyone who’s read Jeff Sharlet’s book The Family (2008), about which I have already posted.

--Marc Tanenbaum (correct spelling) was director of inter-religious affairs for the American Jewish Committee and was known for building bridges of understanding and co-operation between Judaism and other religious bodies, particularly the Roman Catholic Church. For Billy Graham’s attitude toward evangelizing Jews with the gospel of Jesus Christ, see the article about him in the January 1978 issue of McCall’s magazine, which you may be able to find in a public library (the downtown branch of the Edmonton Public Library has a copy in the stacks). Mr. Graham seems to enjoy better relations with Jewish leaders than Jesus did, which I find very suspicious.

--the man with whom Mr. Graham was talking who was vacationing in the same place as he was, referred to in the transcript as "[?]", was Bunny Lasker, who was chairman of the New York Stock Exchange from 1969-1971. I’ll let the reader draw his own conclusions about the people in Billy Graham’s social circle.

--the man referred to as "Carson Beck" in the transcript was actually Eugene Carson Blake, an American Presbyterian minister who was president of the National Council of Churches in the 1950s and later the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches. He was a world leader in the ecumenical movement, and was known for making public appearances with Soviet agents who posed as Christian clergymen.

--the man referred to as "Crowe [Kroll]" was John Krol, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Philadelphia; Terence Cooke was Archbishop of New York. Both were members of the College of Cardinals.

-- "McCloughlin" was John McLaughlin, then a Jesuit priest and supporter of President Nixon. This is the same John McLaughlin who became the host and moderator of the long-running (and still-running) PBS talk show The McLaughlin Group.

--"Rosy" was, I assume, President Nixon’s secretary Rose Mary Woods, who soon gained notoriety for accidentally erasing 18½ minutes from one of the Watergate tapes.

125 years ago: Completion of the Washington Monument--a Masonic structure

On December 6, 1884, workers placed the 3,300 pound marble capstone on the Washington Monument, and topped it with a nine-inch pyramid of cast aluminum, completing construction of the 555-foot Egyptian obelisk. An obelisk is a structure built in honour of Re, or Ra, the sun god of ancient Egyptian paganism. Freemasonry latched on to this when it became popular in the United States (Martin Short, Inside the Brotherhood, Dorset Press, New York, 1989, pp. 81-87). The Washington Monument was built in accordance with Pierre-Charles L’Enfant’s plan for the city. Mr. L’Enfant was hired by President George Washington to design the city of Washington; he was fired in 1792, and his plan underwent some changes, but his avenues and vistas remained, resulting in a city laid out according to Freemasonic symbolism (Nicholas Hagger, The Secret Founding of America, Watkins Publishing, London, 2007, pp. 164-166). The dedication of the monument on February 21, 1885 was a completely Masonic ceremony.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Shriner who claims to be pure, virtuous--and Lucifer

In 2007, Crossbearer interviewed a man who was attending the Shriners convention in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

An example of "Christian" youth "engaging the culture"

Whenever I see something like this, it makes me more grateful that the Lord saved me when He did. This is more evidence that "youth culture" (especially that which claims to be Christian) is an oxymoron.



HT: Michael Martin

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A young neo-Nazi on YouTube

A 23-year old neo-Nazi from Indiana named Jake makes the following comments in "About me" on his YouTube page. Note especially the last part of what he says, and draw your own conclusions.

I'm a young Nationalist, father, student and writer. I can be critical of Christianity, admire (although not yet worship) old European Pagan faiths, and am excited for the new Renaissance that I believe is in its beginning stages - not incidentally occurring simultaneously with the decline of Christian learned absolutism, and an increase of Earth (environmental and animal rights) awareness.


HT: Dracul Van Helsing

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Stupid gnostic comment on YouTube

A very thin book could be published titled "Intelligent Comments on YouTube." The following was posted on November 18, 2009 by a British National Party supporter who identifies himself as KaOssis, at a video titled The Second Coming of Dan Brown's Jesus:

Yes it is funny, because you're interpretation of Jesus is of a physical male, when Revelation 22: tell's you the identity of the Lamb/Son of God is infact the Spirit of the Bride, and only the Bride is the physical matter and Jesus the Spirit, which mean's NO man has? Salvation, muhahahaha!

That looks like gnosticism to me, which denies that Jesus has a physical body (see I John). For the record, here's what the first part of Revelation 22:17 says:

And the Spirit and the bride say, Come.

That's "the Spirit and the bride," not "the Spirit of the Bride." The bride is the church; Christ's church and the Holy Spirit are calling for the Lord Jesus Christ to come. Before KaOssis makes any further comments, he should work on his reading comprehension skills--although if the illiteracy of the comment is any indication, that may be beyond his ability.

HT: Dracul Van Helsing

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Scientology acccused of torture, embezzlement, forced abortions, and child molestation in Australia

It comes as no surprise to this blogger to hear of the latest accusations against the "Church" of Scientology. I remember about 20 years or so ago when the leader of the movement in Edmonton was charged with molesting a young girl. His superior came in from Vancouver for a visit, and the charges were suddenly dropped--which those of us who kept an eye on such things found very suspicious.

The Church of Scientology faces the prospect of a police investigation in Australia after being accused of torture and embezzlement and of forcing employees to have abortions.

Nick Xenophon, an independent senator, presented letters to the Australian Parliament from seven former Scientologists which he said showed that the secretive church was a front for physical violence, intimidation and blackmail.

HT: The Blog of Walker

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"She blinded me with science:" Ida, another "missing link," is nothing special after all

I can't think of any area of so-called "science" that's more characterized by fraud, cover-up, and wild extrapolation based on insufficient evidence than that of man's alleged ancestors (e.g., Nebraska Man; Java Man; Peking Man; Piltdown Man). When the discovery of Ida was announced, I was skeptical, and wondered how long it would take before it would be exposed as yet another "missing link" that turned out to be nothing of the kind. It comes as no surprise to this blogger that we now have the answer.

It's amusing to read that the scientists are having a difficult time finding a pigeonhole for Ida to fit into, so they might just have to invent a whole new species for her instead. Remember, this is science!

Remember Ida, the fossil discovery announced last May with its own book and TV documentary? A publicity blitz called it "the link" that would reveal the earliest evolutionary roots of monkeys, apes and humans. Experts protested that Ida wasn't even a close relative. And now a new analysis supports their reaction. In fact, Ida is as far removed from the monkey-ape-human ancestry as a primate could be, says Erik Seiffert of Stony Brook University in New York.

Speaking of missing links, I wonder when (not if) ardipithecus ramidus will be exposed as something considerably less than is claimed for it by its enthusiasts. It's only a matter of time until this one is shown to be true ape, true man--or hoax. And when that day comes, it will again come as no surprise to this blogger.

Monday, October 5, 2009

A campaign for euthanasia--from 1906

From the front page of The Evening Journal, Edmonton, Alberta, Saturday, January 6, 1906:

HASTEN DEATH
________________

The Startling Doctrine of a Cambridge Professor.
________________

Chloroform the Aged and Mortally Afflicted, he says.
_________________

Special to The Journal.
Philadelphia, Jan.6.--Dr. Charles Elliott Norton, of Cambridge, has joined forces with Anna E. Hall, of Cincinnati and with Mrs. Maud Bellington, in a campaign of killing off of hopelessly insane, hopelessly diseased, and victims of accidents. His views are expressed in a letter written to Miss Hall, and made public here to-day.
Setting aside all doubtful cases, he says that no right thinking man would hesitate to give a dose of laudanum, sufficient to end the suffering and life together of a victim of an accident from the torturing effects of which recovery was impossible, nor should a reasonable man hesitate to hasten death in case of mortal disease such as for example cancer when it has reached a stage of incessant pain and when the patient desires to die. Prolonging of life in such a case by whatever means is criminal cruelty. With old persons whose mind has become a chaos of wild imaginations, productive of constant distress, not only to the sufferer but all who live with and attend him, then the plain duty is not to prolong but to shorten life.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Hornerites: Charismania, 1899-style

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9

Remember the "Toronto Blessing" and the "Holy Laughter" that was all the rage in Charismaniac circles in the 1990s? Ottawa had its own version at the end of the 1890s. The following item is from page 6 of The Evening Citizen for Monday, December 4, 1899. Then, as now, Canada seems to have produced more than her share of strange spiritual movements.

A WILD SCENE
______

Where Religion Mounted
Into Frenzy.

______

A HORNERITE MEETING
______

A Vivid Description of the
Sights Witnessed During
the Proceedings.
______

"Today I feel, I know I’m saved, and when I catch sight of the pearly gates, I’ll rush through and no one can stop me."
"Hurrah! Hallelujah! Bless you, sister, religion’s yours."
Above the long-drawn, loud-mouthed supplications and rejoicings of a small army of Hornerites, snatches such as the above, held the attention in the Mission hall, on Concession street, yesterday afternoon. For two hours, the hall, packed and crowded in every corner, resounded to the wild, weird, joyful acclaims of the devoted followers of the holiness movement. Seldom in Ottawa’s religious annals has such an exhibition and outflowing of religious feeling--fanatical, fiery and fervent--been witnessed. Old and young, man and maiden, vied with each other in the intensity of their acclaims, boisterous at times, and accompanied by bodily contortions that reminded the onlooker of an acrobat’s antics. Through it all, however, there ran a deep undercurrent of sincerity of purpose and belief that impressed even the careless one and his brother the scoffer. To one unacquainted with the workings of the movement, the proceedings would appear in a ridiculous, even grotesque light, but a glance at the growth and solid standing of this religious body would seem to indicate that the holiness movement is destined to still further growth.

Challenged the Scoffers.

Yesterday’s meeting was taken charge of by the founder of the movement, Rev. R.C. Horner, and his sermon was a bold challenge to the scoffers, who look on the movement he fathers as one destined to lash the sea of sentiment into foam, but not to work any lasting beneficial results. He called on his followers to manifest the possession of the spirit in no uncertain manner, even as did the component members of the early Christian church. Throughout the meeting the evangelists repeatedly encouraged their followers in their exhibitions. His hearers were neither loath nor slow to take the hint, and the proceedings went with a rush and roar like that of an avalanche.
The mission hall is but a small building, probably 60 by 40 feet in measurement, but though these dimensions sufficed to house the throng of chosen ones and curious ones, they only corralled a corner of the enthusiasm and boisterous acclaims, and the entire neighborhood resounded to the heavy cannonading on the gates of Satan’s stronghold. The body of the hall was filled with chairs, which were at a premium before the meeting opened, while standing room itself was scarcer than flies in February. Seated and standing about the platform at the one end of the hall, were Rev. R.C. Horner and the officers of his aggressive army, preachers, probationers, and evangelists. They faced the congregation, seated on the lower level of the main floor and packed in the aisles and passages. The congregation was a study in itself, but the proceedings furnished material for an extended series of studies. The meeting was divided into periods of preaching, praying and hymn-singing and "experiences," and each period evoked more enthusiasm than the former one.

They Got Religion.

As their need for religion became apparent to the individual followers, this knowledge was made apparent in divers (sic) forms, while the means taken to satisfy it were of a range and variety that included everything from quiet mediation (sic) and wrestling with the spirit, to loud-mouthed ejaculations and startling bodily contortions. All seemed artists in their lines. There was only one handicap and that was a serious one, although not worried over much by the devoted ones--space was at a premium. When a struggler with Satan leaped clear of the seats, he would find his ambitious tendencies blocked by a solid phalanx of fellow-enthusiasts, but nevertheless several successful attempts were made.
The prayer-meeting was itself a cooperative, equal rights service. Though one of the evangelists or other leaders might make a show at conducting the meeting, and be greeted with encouraging epithets from a portion of the congregation, others would strikeout for themselves, as the spirit moved them. One stalwart young fellow, who had been yelling lustily in the hymn-singing and joyful acclaims, suddenly started a vigorous jig, and though dancing, like drunkenness, is on the prohibited list, none interrupted him, all being satisfied the art acquired in sin was on the present occasion but a means of grace. His step was correct and his time true, though, with head thrown back and glassy, staring eyes, he seemed but a piece of mechanism. From the other side of the hall a young woman bounded forth on to the platform. Hands on hips and head erect, she leaped into the air, turning right and left, back and forth, never uttering a sound, and utterly oblivious of the striking figure she made. Again, to the right, a young, thick-set evangelist swayed back and forth on his knees, now rising, now settling back again, all the time beating the breast, and loudly proclaiming that glory was his.

A Miniature Scrimmage.

In another part of the room men and women clasped each other, and in their mutual joy and satisfaction, rolled about regardless of their neighbors or the furniture. Out from the group of exhorters, swaying and shouting, at one side, bobbed up a well-built youth, scrambling and pushing his way down one aisle and up the other. The whole length and round of the room he went, frenzied and wild-eyed, beseeching the onlookers to join in the general gratification of the moment. Over prostrate women and kneeling men, through interlocked throngs, he fought his way with the dash and determination of a Rugby player breaking through the line for a final touch-down. Neither seats nor spectators blocked his way and he made the circuit of the congregation, several times proclaiming the fact, "We’re not crazy; we’re simply washed clean of sin and rejoice in the fact." All were repeatedly exhorted to join in the general wash-up and it took three of his comrades to finally arrest the young man’s energetic canvass. With a shout of exultation, another sturdy seeker for salvation grasped a chair held down by a fellow seeker. There was a loud crash, the chair parted at its weakest point, while startled looks were cast ceiling-wards to see whether the roof had not been actually carried away as well as those it sheltered. At the rear end of the hall a middle aged farmer’s wife groaned and swayed like a pendent sign in a storm. P.C. Hanrahan, who was doing duty on the beat outside, wandered in to get a line on the proceedings at this stage. The female followers in a burst of frenzy let forth a series of blood-curdling shrieks, bounding into the air, and the limb of the law hustled into the street again. Although it was a chilly afternoon, the baton-bearer concluded the proceedings within were a trifle too warm to suit him.

Woman Embraces Two Men.

In different parts of the hall men clasped outstretched hands, pulling and tugging like school children, while others would link arms four deep, rejoicing and glorifying in concert. After giving her "experience" in terms of eloquent gratitude, one woman threw her arms around the two men in front of her, all three trying the strength of the seats in their endeavor to fittingly express their mutual joy. One young exhorter would at times bound onto the platform, and with hands pressed to her head, and eyes shut, dance like a rubber ball on a string. In another part of the room a young woman, a mere girl in appearance, posed as in a trance with arms extended, fists clinched (sic), and eyes closed. For fully five minutes she retained this fixed expression and pose, her face of a deathly paleness and not a single muscle showing a movement. Some of the more enthusiastic would grasp their neighbors, regardless of age or sex, none seeming in the spirit of the occasion to resent the liberty.
All was not confusion, however; here and there about the hall, men and women knelt in quiet prayer, totally oblivious of the storm that surged about them. More would sit or kneel, muttering and talking to themselves, and expressing their approval of the preacher’s remarks. Several women apparently passed after their outbursts of enthusiasm into a trance out of which they would wake with a start and shriek. The very atmosphere was electric with religious fervor and it was a study indeed, to observe how different ones were affected. Strong men and frail women laughed aloud and cheered in a crazy delirium, as though it were a farce comedy rather than a religious service. Others emitted yells and howls that would rival a dog show or a football rooter, while still more resorted to a deep, long-drawn snore, that sounded not unlike the breathing of a Mogul engine. The nervous strain on all was awful, and in many instances the whole frame shook and vibrated with the intensity of the emotion.

A Super-Heated Room.

A large box stove kept the atmosphere over-heated and to the 250 crowded into the hall, it was like a sweltering furnace, but none had time or mind to complain. Gray-haired men and little children, patient mothers, toil-worn fathers, buxom daughters and fun-loving sons all joined in the prayers and supplications, and all forgot self and sex in the general acclaims. The meeting was probably the most successful and enthusiastic yet held in Ottawa, and will be long remembered by spectators and participators alike.
The ordination services which marked the close of the annual conference were attended by scenes of wild and abandoned enthusiasm. The ritual followed is similar to that in vogue in other Protestant churches. Rev. George Comerford, of Billings bridge, and Rev. Geo. A. Moran, lately of Manitoba, were the two candidates received into the ministry. The ordination services were conducted by the Rev. R.C. Horner, and owing to the crush of followers present at the conference, they were somewhat of a private nature. The newly ordained ministers were called on to show and prove the faith that was in them, while all joined in the prayer for their success in their ministerial labors.
At the examinations held in connection with the conference, fifteen students were accepted as ministers on probation, while six others were ordered to complete a course at the college established here in connection with the movement. At present there are 30 students in attendance at this college, at which a three months’ course in theology, elocution and preliminary instruction is given. The principal is Rev. R.C. Horner, who has three assistants associated with him in the work. The reports presented at the conference show that there are in the Ottawa district 51 circuits with a membership of 1,500 followers of the Holiness Movement. For the foreign missions $1,500 was raised during the year. The home missions being self-sustaining. The conference just closed has been in point of attendance of members, enthusiasm and unity of purpose a most successful one.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

20 years ago: The Death of Walter Martin

Christian apologist Walter Martin went to be with the Lord on June 26, 1989 at the age of 60. He was the founder of the Christian Research Institute and author of numerous books, most notably The Kingdom of the Cults (originally published in 1965). He died of a heart attack the day after debating apostate Anglican Bishop John Shelby Spong. Dr. Martin's messages and writings can be found at Walter Martin's Religious Info Net, a site operated by his daughter, Jill Martin Rische.

Friday, May 15, 2009

25 years ago: The Death of Francis Schaeffer

May 15, 2009 marks the 25th anniversary of the death of Francis Schaeffer. Mr. Schaeffer was a Presbyterian pastor in the United States for many years before moving to Switzerland to found L'Abri, which was a place for young spiritual seekers to find answers to their questions about Christianity. Mr. Schaeffer wrote a number of excellent books in the areas of Christian apologetics and ethics, including The God Who is There (1968); Escape from Reason (1968); No Final Conflict (1975); How Should We Then Live? (1976); and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? (1979--with C. Everett Koop). How Should We Then Live? and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? each served as the basis for a documentary film series. Mr. Schaeffer was dying of cancer as he wrote his last book; The Great Evangelical Disaster was published a couple of months before his death. In this book, he warned that evangelicalism was in danger of abandoning belief in the infallibility and authority of the Bible, and argued that the Southern Baptist Convention, for example, was in the same condition in 1984 that the mainline churches were in during the 1920s and '30s. In 1976 Mr. Schaeffer delivered an address on this theme, titled The Watershed of the Evangelical World, to the National Association of Evangelicals in Washington, D.C. Unfortunately, Francis Schaeffer's last warning has largely gone unheeded.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Social Gospel and postmodern heresy at a Christian and Missionary Alliance assembly

More Books and Things has a post about Erwin McManus being invited to address the biennial assembly of the Canadian Pacific District of the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Langley, British Columbia on May 19-21, 2009. My views on Mr. McManus’s book The Barbarian Way have already been posted. As a Christian and as a member of a C&MA church in the neighbouring province of Alberta, I was not only disturbed by the invitation to Mr. McManus, but also by what I saw when I clicked on links at the assembly website. Some examples are found below.

"Missional" and "transformation" are currently popular buzzwords in the emerging and dominionist camps. "Missional" is a particularly popular word with postmodernists. Like postmodernism itself, which denies that words have objective meanings, "missional" seems to mean (a la Humpty Dumpty in Alice in Wonderland) whatever its users want it to mean. As far as I can tell, "missional" is largely used as a code word for those of like mind to be able to identify one another. "Transformation" and its derivatives aren’t used in the sense of Romans 12:2 (...be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind...), but in the sense of transforming society and the world. These are 21st Century terms for the old 20th Century social gospel heresy of man bringing in the Kingdom of God on earth. For those who want to research these terms and topics further, I particularly recommend Lighthouse Trails Research Project; Herescope; and Kjos Ministries.

Sustainable… Missional…Church… Movement…
The 2009 District Conference

"Living Out - Bringing God's Kingdom into our Communities"

We believe in encouraging an environment that empowers the family of churches in the Canadian Pacific District to be a missional movement where God given dreams, visions and passions can be unleashed with life-transforming power.

About | Mission
Evangelism Life Zone

BIOMES : Environmental Transformational Plan

A 'biome' is a life zone, or a region, where special kinds of plants and animals live in a special climate. A biome is made up of unique environmental factors that sustain a particular type of organic life. The language of ecology can be used to express spiritual realities. For our context, biomes are spiritual life zones.

Our objective was to identify strategic life zones and creatively influence the environmental factors surrounding those life zones to stimulate missional transformation.

Just imagine an evangelistic environment where . . .
1. Believers in local churches are missionary to their core, engaging with their community to discover what people need and how they can meet those needs.
2. The local church is seen by the unchurched as a vital part of the health and hope of a community.
3. Each local church identifies its parish and uncovers opportunities to minister kindness and compassion to the marginalized and least reached.

"How about that!," as Mel Allen would say--"Biomes," "spiritual life zones," and "missional transformation" all thrown together. It reads like the bafflegab that the New Age Movement has been serving up for the last 25-30 years. "Biome" is a word I haven’t heard before, but I won’t be surprised to see it catch on in evangelical circles. Note too, that the word is lifted from its proper context of the physical environment and applied to the spiritual environment.

Take the word "church" out of the three points above and substitute "community social service organization" or some such phrase, and the meaning would be the same. The presence and direction of God isn’t necessary for these things to take place; man can accomplish this just by employing the proper paradigm, strategy, and research. It might be pointed out that the church in the book of Acts didn’t bother doing this kind of research. In Acts 11:27-30 we read that a prophet named Agabus came from Jerusalem to Antioch and predicted through the Holy Spirit that a severe famine would spread throughout the entire Roman world. The disciples there provided help for their fellow Christians in Judea, sending their gift by the hands of Barnabas and Paul. There’s no evidence that they let their community know of the coming famine, or provided for their "felt needs." This was when the church was under the leadership of the Apostles, men commissioned directly by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

Ministries | Global Ministries
Global Connecting for World Transformations

Our main purpose is to resource and network Churches, Missions Teams, and Missions Commitees and help in the building of a roadmap for the reinvention of church-based missions.

Ah yes, "reinvention." Why is it that in the new "paradigm shift" everything must change right now? It sounds like the old Hegelian dialectic at work: thesis + antithesis = synthesis. It helps the process along to bring in a lot of changes at once--you may be successful at neutralizing potential opposition by keeping people off balance in this way.

Ministries | Church Effectiveness | Church Conflict Assessment & Resolution

It is not enough to just work through a present conflict but we must help our churches develop a clear pathway to exercise biblical peace-making as part of their spiritual DNA.

An interesting and informative article on the term "spiritual DNA" and its connection with the New Apostolic Reformation has recently been posted at Deception Bytes.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

40 years ago: The revised Roman Catholic calendar

On May 9, 1969 a revised Roman Catholic calendar of church feasts, dropping more than 200 saints and adding saints from outside Europe, was published in Rome. Among those dropped because of doubt that they ever existed was St. Christopher. I can't help but wonder how many people wasted their time and effort trusting in and praying to saints who may not have existed instead of trusting in and praying to the God who does exist.

Nowhere in the scriptures are we told to pray to saints, but we're continually exhorted to pray to God. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself told us:

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:6 (NIV)

Jesus also prayed to His Father. Perhaps the best example of this is found in John 17, where He prayed for Himself (verses 1-5); His disciples (6-19); and all believers in Him (20-26).

I can't improve on the Holy Spirit-inspired words of the Apostle Paul:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)

Libertine University

The reaction of some male students to Carrie Prejean’s recent "chapel" address at Liberty University came as no surprise to this blogger. A book by a young man who went "underground" as a student at Liberty for a semester was recently published (go here to see an excerpt), and the author was surprised to find that except for opposition to homosexual acts, the students were pretty much like everybody else. Indeed, the hooting reaction to Miss Prejean’s mention of the swimsuit part of the Miss U.S.A. pageant helps to confirm that view.

Search the archives of Liberty University founder Jerry Fatwhale's Falwell’s columns at WorldNet Daily, and you’ll find an emphasis on state-of-the-art athletic facilities; the performance of LU’s athletic teams; the contribution of Liberty U to the economy of Virginia; and how well they compare academically to secular universities. Emphasis on molding godly character in LU’s students is much harder to find. Liberty U’s graduation speakers have included John McCain, Newt Gingrich, and Ben Stein, whose political conservative credentials are more impressive than their Christian credentials.

Go back 20 years, and you’ll find that Liberty University was denying that it was a Christian university (not to potential Christian donors, but to state authorities):

During January court hearings in Lynchburg relating to Liberty University’s apparently desperate efforts to obtain a $60 million tax-free bond issue, chancellor Dr. Jerry Falwell said LU’s rules requiring short hair for men and bans on rock music and alcohol have no specific biblical basis but are "just our preference" and totally and "entirely" a matter of taste (2/16 Sword). He said the church has no control over the school. An LU dean declined to call Liberty a Christian school when he testified Jan. 11 (1/29 Christian News). LU professor Rod Littlejohn said no teachers at Liberty inject religion into coursework. FBF pres. Dr. Rod Bell says Liberty is not a religious institution, that there is no way fundamental Baptists could recommend Liberty U. to educate and train their children (11-12/89 FBF News Bulletin).

--Calvary Contender, January 3, 1990 (reprinted in Australian Beacon, April 1990, p. 8). "Sword" refers to Sword of the Lord; FBF is Fundamental Bible Fellowship.

Several years later, Liberty U was $73 million in debt, in no small part the result of Rev. Fatwhale’s Falwell’s desire to be competitive in sports. One of those who helped to bail LU out of its financial problems was antichrist Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Do a Google search on Jerry Falwell and Sun Myung Moon, and you’ll find plenty of items. A good short one (with useful links) is by Rick Ross.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Rock Church in San Diego (Carrie Prejean's church): First Church of Christ, Druckerist

Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
Matthew 6:1-4

The Rock Church in San Diego is the church home of Miss California, Carrie Prejean. A look at their website gave me the impression that like so many megachurches, The Rock is more of a social club and community service centre than a church. Other than prayer and worship, almost none of the offerings mentioned on their ministry page have anything to do with Jesus Christ or His gospel.

What statements can be found regarding doctrine are Biblical, if lacking in detail, at least concerning the Bible and the Godhead. However, the emphasis of The Rock is very much on works, especially those that transform society. From The Rock’s A.R.M.Y. page:

What's the A.R.M.Y?
Pronunciation: \'är-me\ | Function: noun | Definition: a body of persons organized to advance a cause

We're an A.R.M.Y. of doers... The Rock Church wants to make a difference in people's lives. You can help change the world!

Jesus wants you to listen to His call. He's calling you to DO Something. He wants to transform people's lives -- but He needs an A.R.M.Y. of believers united and trained and committed to do it. Signing up for the Rock A.R.M.Y. is simple, but it means signing up for a way of life. Why? Because it involves Accountability, Reaching the Lost, doing Ministry, and being wise with Yo' Money.

Here’s some of what The Rock Church has to say about accountability:

It's all about ACCOUNTABILITY

An Accountability Relationship is engaging in a one-on-one relationship that allows you to grow through the challenges of life with someone, while holding each other accountable to serve the Lord and others.

No more slipping in and out of the crowd on Sunday mornings! Being accountable to at least one other fellow Christian is crucial to growing in the Lord. That means you need a Partner to hold you accountable to pray, study the Word of God, worship every week, participate in service, and be a good steward of your resources.

If there’s anything in the New Testament that says "Be ye accountable to at least one other person," I’ve missed it.

Evidence of The Rock’s works-based view of righteousness can be found in its emphasis on numbers:

In 2009, The Rock Church is committed to providing 600,000 DO Something hours of city-transforming ministry service hours to the county of San Diego and the world.
Visit IdoSomething.org

Here’s what you find when you do visit IdoSomething.org:

161,882 service hours completed in 2009
27% towards goal of 600,000

In 2009 the Rock Church is committed to providing 600,000 DO Something hours of city-transforming ministry service to the county of San Diego and the world.

Log Your Hours! After volunteering in your community, record the # of hours you did here or by text message.
Tell us what you did and what God did through you. (Also, upload your photos and videos!)

If this isn’t doing one’s alms to be seen of men, I don’t know what is. Why the emphasis on numbers? I suspect that this church has been influenced by Rick Warren’s Purpose-Driven paradigm, which in turn reflects the influence of management guru Peter Drucker, who was very much of a mentor to Rick Warren. Berit Kjos comes to mind as someone who has provided much useful information on the influence that Peter Drucker’s management philosophy has had on churches (go here and the links contained therein for information). Using Peter Drucker’s methods, growth and productivity must be measured quantitatively. How do you measure growth in faith and knowledge of Jesus Christ? It’s pretty hard if your idea of righteousness is rooted in correct doctrine. However, in order to fit into Mr. Drucker’s paradigm, you must have an observable quantity of something that you can measure, hence the emphasis on works. You can keep a record of number of hours spent in community service; an increase in this quantity is then taken to be a measure of one’s "spiritual growth." The church’s view of righteousness has now become works-based, and if it continues in this direction, it will result in a "church" composed of Pharisees. As for the emphasis on community service, if you read the Gospels you'll see that the multitudes loved Jesus when He performed miracles for them--but they hated Him when He started proclaiming doctrine.

Focus on the Family is beyond satire

If an anti-Christian activist were to write a novel or fictitious screenplay mocking early 21st Century North American evangelicalism, he'd have a tough time topping the Carrie Prejean saga. Details (and excellent Biblical commentary from a female perspective) can be found at Slice of Laodicea and Surph's Side.

Focus on the Family is among Miss Prejean's most vociferous defenders, rushing to get an interview with her. The interview is scheduled to run on American stations on May 11 and 12, although I wouldn't be surprised if it were pulled after the latest revelations about Miss Prejean's conduct (May 12 update: the programs were broadcast in the United States and Canada). The Focus programs for May 6 and 7 concerned the National Day of Prayer, and weren't broadcast to Canadian listeners. What Canadian listeners were provided with, however, was a rerun of the programs titled Teaching Sexual Purity to Your Kids I and II. One wonders what lesson kids will learn when Carrie Prejean, whose behaviour can hardly be equated with purity, is the honoured guest of Focus on the Family just a few days later. For a show dedicated to the family, Focus seems to have an increasing number of programs that require younger members of the family to be moved to another room while the broadcast is on.

May 10, 2010 update: The broadcasts no longer seem to be available online, but if you contact Focus on the Family and mention the dates and title or subject matter, you should be able to purchase the recordings.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Outhouse (aka The Shack) in God's house

Paul Young, author of The Shack (or, as I call it, The Outhouse), made another return visit to his native province of Alberta in March 2009. As a member of Beulah Alliance Church in Edmonton, I was not thrilled that Mr. Young was invited to speak there, nor was I the least bit interested in paying $10 to hear him (other public appearances by Mr. Young that week charged higher prices).

On September 15, 2008, Mr. Young was in Calgary to address an audience at his alma mater, Ambrose University College (it was known as Canadian Bible College when he was a student there). The fact that this heretic was invited to speak there is evidence of Ambrose’s continuing downward slide (see my previous posts). The podcast of Mr. Young’s address at Ambrose comprises too large and time-consuming a download for my computer, but those who are interested can find it here and here. Mr. Young also did an interview with CJCA radio during his recent visit to Edmonton, which can be found here.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Dominionist church in Hamilton loses its charitable status

And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. Luke 12:15

As reported by Kevin Donovan in The Toronto Star on February 18, 2009:

An evangelical church that used donor money to pay for gym memberships, Gucci fashion accessories and trips to Hawaii and elsewhere for its directors has been stripped of its charitable licence by the federal government. The Dominion Christian Centre of Canada was set up in Hamilton by charismatic leader Peter Rigo, a former decorator who says a divine power summoned him in the year 2000 to "encourage believers to live effectively as Christians."...The audit, obtained by the Star, says the transgressions of Rigo, his wife, Peggy (also a pastor), and assistant pastor Dave Barhouma were many.

I don't know if these people will be making these types of purchases now that the economy has gone downhill, but times like these are the perfect opportunity to put the prosperity gospel to the test; after all, it's easy to proclaim such a "gospel" when times are good. And beware of any church where a husband and wife are "co-pastors."

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Finding God in The Shack?

A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. James 1:8

Finding God in The Shack is the title of a recent book by Roger E. Olson, professor of theology at George W. Truett Theological Seminary of Baylor University. My immediate reaction to the title is that if God really were in The Shack (go here for my post on that book), a book such as Dr. Olson's would be unnecessary.

When I read the transcript of an interview with Dr. Olson, the words of the apostle James, cited above, came to mind. Here are a few quotes:

But, in brief, a postconservative evangelical affirms the absolute authority of the Bible without privileging the literal interpretation in every portion of it.

Neither do I believe in the inerrancy of the Bible.

I'm working on two books. First, for InterVarsity Press, a book about universalism. My own position is what I call (borrowing from von Balthasar) a "conditional universalism of hope."

Dr. Olson claims to be "postconservative," but not liberal. He claims to believe in the absolute authority of the Bible, but not in its inerrancy. How you can trust in the absolute authority of something that contains errors is beyond me--I guess you have to be a professional theologian to be able to perform such a balancing act.

According to this review of Finding God in The Shack, Dr. Olson affirms the authenticity of The Shack because it conforms to his experience. It's apparent, therefore, that Dr. Olson uses his experience, and not the Bible, as his authority in evaluating the spiritual authenticity of The Shack.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Confession may be good for the soul, but not for the reputation

...and be sure your sin will find you out. Numbers 32:23b

Man recovers after 'deathbed' murder confession

By Tom Leonard in New York
Last Updated: 8:58AM GMT 23 Mar 2009

When James Brewer suffered a stroke and realised he was dying, the church-going Oklahoma factory worker decided it was time for an extraordinary death-bed confession. Local police were summoned to his hospital bedside where he lay after suffering a stroke. Brewer is alleged to have then told them he shot dead a man he believed was trying to seduce his wife more than 30 years ago. Detectives said Brewer, 58, told them he wanted to "cleanse his soul" and go to meet his maker with a clear conscience. But in a bizarre twist of fate, Brewer survived the illness and now faces a new murder trial over the 32-year-old death of Jimmy Carroll in Tennessee - where the death penalty may await him.

Last week, a newly recovered Brewer and his wife, Dorothy, sold all their possessions in a garage sale and left their modest wood-framed home in Shawnee, Oklahoma, where they had reportedly been living under the assumed names of Michael and Dorothy Anderson. They drove to Hohenwald, Tennessee, where he surrendered to the authorities.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Zechariah's Messianic prophecies

There are so many prophecies of Christ in the book of Isaiah that the book has been referred to as the "Gospel of Isaiah." A lesser-known Old Testament book with Messianic prophecies is Zechariah. Zechariah was a contemporary of Haggai, and the word of the Lord came to him from 520-518 B.C. (In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius...1:1), after Israel had returned to the land from the Babylonian exile. His book consists of a series of visions and oracles concerning Israel, including a number of prophecies of Israel’s Messiah--all of which were fulfilled (or will be fulfilled) by Jesus:

...I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH.
For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land on one day.
3:8-9

Then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest;
And speak unto him saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is the BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD:
Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.
6:11-13

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. 9:9

...and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth. 9:10b

From Judah will come the cornerstone...10:4a (NIV)

So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.
And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD.
11:12b-13

...and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. 12:10b

And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. 13:6

...smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered...13:7

Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
14:3-4

...and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee. 14:5c

And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one. 14:9

Among the prophecies about Israel is this one:

Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.
And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.
12:2-3

You only have to read your daily newspaper to know how the prophecy in Zechariah 12:2-3 has been, and is being, fulfilled. Here’s a disturbing prophecy which is yet to be fulfilled:

And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth. 14:12

This prophecy, given more than 2,500 years ago, sounds as though it could be describing the effects of a nuclear war or explosion.

Given the perfect fulfilment of Biblical prophecy in the past, it's reasonable to assume that the remaining prophecies will be perfectly fulfilled in the future. The fulfilment of prophecy is proof that the God of the Bible is the one true God. In addition to Isaiah, I especially recommend the book of Zechariah to Jewish readers, and ask them to consider the Messianic prophecies contained therein. Jesus not only fulfilled all the prophecies of Israel's Messiah (the anointed One), but he also came as the saviour of the Gentiles (I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth. Isaiah 49:6b). If you haven't yet trusted in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, I urge you to do so today:

I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation. II Corinthians 6:2b

Monday, March 16, 2009

Grovelling Christianity

I’m a Christian, but I’m also a white person (and not ashamed of it), and as such, I’m becoming increasingly nauseated with grovelling before politically-correct minority groups. In the secular realm, the government of Trudeaupia (formerly Canada) is one of the worst offenders in this regard. The current Prime Minister, Stephen "The Great Groveller" Harper and his errand boy Jason Kenney (Minister of Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism) can’t seem to find enough groups to apologize to.

I took great offense when The Great Groveller apologized to the Chinese in Canada in 2006 because early in the 20th Century Canada had charged a head tax to Chinese workers entering the country, and eventually enacted immigration laws that barred further immigration from China. It would probably come as a shock to Messrs. Harper and Kenney that white Canadians of an earlier era would themselves have been shocked to be accused of doing anything that merited an apology. I think "chronological arrogance" is the term that Joseph Sobran used when referring to the criticism of those from earlier times because they didn’t see things as people in our time see them. To Canadians of the early 20th Century, the idea of a "multicultural" nation would have been suicidal, and an oxymoron: to the people of those days, a nation was mainly an identifiable people group that had important things in common, such as ethnicity, language, and religion (indeed, the New Testament Greek words for "nation" are ethnos, genos, and allophulos; all of them refer to a race or people, rather than a political entity). Canadians viewed their country as one of white Europeans (mainly English-speaking, with a loyalty to Britain and British institutions, and a belief in some form of Christianity), with one mainly French-speaking province (also composed of white people of European descent, mostly Roman Catholic). The people of Canada thought it was necessary for the nation to be as homogeneous as possible; to change the racial makeup of the population would be to change the country for the worse, and they didn’t want the country to be changed. That’s why they charged the head tax to Chinese coming to work in Canada--if they couldn’t discourage these people from entering Canada, they would at least make them pay for the privilege.

As for the Chinese, they weren’t brought here as slaves, and they weren’t held as prisoners. They agreed to the terms of employment, which were better than anything they would have had at home, and ended up better off than if they’d stayed in China. Although they weren’t paid as much as white workers, they were free to take their earnings back to China, where those earnings were regarded as a small fortune. The Edmonton Journal of June 27, 2006 published an obituary of Fong Ping Mah, whose husband was one of those workers who came from China to Canada and paid the head tax. He made several trips back to China, where the money he had earned in Canada enabled his family to be regarded as wealthy capitalists. Why should these people receive an apology?

A similar apology was issued to Canadians of Indian descent (from India, that is) in 2008 for the incident in 1914 when the Japanese ship Komagata Maru, carrying 376 passengers from Punjab (mostly Sikhs, with smaller numbers of Muslims and Hindus) was prevented from docking at Vancouver, and was sent back to India. By 1914 Canada, as a Dominion, had control over her own immigration, and was increasingly enacting laws and regulations restricting non-white immigration. Those on the Komagata Maru were deliberately trying to force their way into a country where they knew they wouldn’t be welcome. The government of the province of British Columbia and the government of Canada both made it clear that these passengers (except for 24 who had complied with the regulations) weren’t welcome. Far from apologizing for the incident, I applaud the B.C. and Canadian governments of 1914 for standing up for the interests of the country; given the way that some Sikhs have behaved since they were allowed into Canada, I think the governments of the early 20th Century showed unusual wisdom. For those white people of a politically-correct persuasion who think such a view is horribly racist, consider the results of unrestricted Chinese and Indian immigration. Just on numbers alone, it would be only a matter of time until whites would become a minority in their own country; if you think this would produce a harmonious nation, look at the effect that Muslim immigration is having on western Europe today. The millions of Mexicans illegally pouring across the border into the United States are having an extremely negative effect on that country. As Mark Steyn says, diversity is great for the world, but not for a country.

I’m just as nauseated by professing Christians who think that the best way to reach some people groups is by grovelling before them, confessing sins (usually in the past, and usually committed by others) which may be real, but may also be imaginary. The target groups are often quite happy to exploit the guilt feelings for their own benefit. I don’t see any of this grovelling Christianity in the New Testament.

I have no problem with apologies being made and compensation paid to actual victims of injustice, but I’m sick and tired of white people, especially white Christians, allowing themselves to be played for suckers. In the Christian realm, we see this in the case of Indian (i.e., First Nations, Native, Aboriginal, or whatever such term you prefer) residential schools, where actual sins were committed; those sins have been confessed and repented of, and restitution has been made (as an aside, the residential schools situation is an example of the dangers of "faith-based initiatives," where churches carry out the social agenda of the state). Some professing Christians insist on confessing and repenting on behalf of others, even if the sins were committed by those who falsely claimed to be Christians. This makes the professional repenters look very pious, and there are those among the victim group(s) who are happy to encourage the guilt feelings of the repenters. An example of this can be found in the Response to the Prime Minister’s Apology to Aboriginal Peoples by the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada’s Aboriginal Ministries Council. The response (an abridged version of which may be found here (on page 10)) was written by Ray Aldred, Assistant Professor of Theology at Ambrose University College, and Chair of the EFC’s Aboriginal Ministries Council. Below are some quotes from Dr. Aldred’s statement, followed by my comments.

I hope that when Canadians heard their government’s apology there were not those who said, "It wasn’t me, I don’t need to apologize."

Well, I’m one Canadian who says, "It wasn’t me, I don’t need to apologize." I’m perfectly willing to confess and repent of my own sins, but I resent being called on to confess and repent of sins that were committed by others, especially when those sins were committed before I was born (I can’t verify the accuracy of the list of residential schools as it appears in Wikipedia, but I found only one school on that list that opened after I was born, and almost all the schools had closed before I reached the age of 20). This is where identificational repentance comes in (see previous post). Certain professing Christians (especially those of the Charismaniac/Dominionist ilk) are of the view that if there is spiritual darkness or resistance to the Gospel in a particular area, it’s because there is a curse handed down from previous generations because of a sin or sins that occurred. It’s then necessary to conduct an investigation of the spiritual history of the area to determine when and how the area came under a curse. If and when the sin is identified, it must be confessed and repented of in order for the curse to be broken and reconciliation to take place.
This is contrary to scripture: The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. Ezekiel 18:20

In addition to the pagan nature of the spiritual warfare worldview with which IR is associated (see previous post), a problem I have with identificational repentance is the arrogance of those who presume to repent on behalf of people who: (a) may not have wanted to repent; (b) may not have thought they did anything requiring repentance; and (c) may have been right about (b) (e.g., the immigration issues cited above).

Let me suggest the theme of restorative justice. An attempt at reconciliation which might help us to think through what has happened in the apology because what has happened in Canada is not primarily a breakdown in law, but a breakdown in relationship. We need restorative justice because it is aimed at repairing relationship. Thus, when trying to walk in the theme of restorative justice there are three large tasks, according to Rev. Dr. Pierre Allard: Tell the truth; really listen; come up with a shared plan to repair the damage.

Let me suggest three tasks that Canadian evangelicals need to take in order to be better agents of reconciliation and that might help Canada in the continuation of walking toward restorative justice.

Task #1 A universalism of intention, not pretension (walking in the light of 1 John; the one who says they are without sin is a liar and the truth is not in him): Tell the truth.

When it came to residential schools the country and often the evangelical Church denied the truth by not acknowledging their responsibility for residential schools. But everyone was implicated by the residential schools, either because they ran residential schools or they stood by and did nothing to attempt to stop them.

In fact, it isn’t a denial of truth for evangelical churches not to acknowledge responsibility for residential schools. It wasn’t the evangelical churches that were operating these schools (I found one Baptist school and a few non-denominational ones on the Wikipedia list), but the mainline churches. More than half were run by the Roman Catholic church, and almost all the rest by the Anglican and United (and before they united, Methodist and Presbyterian) churches. Get your apologies from them, Dr. Aldred. And if you’re going to hold everyone guilty because they "did nothing to attempt to stop them," you may as well make similar accusations against the Lord Jesus Christ and the apostles because they didn’t do anything to stop slavery in their society.

Task #3 Reconciliation, repentance, restoration (How can two walk together unless they both agree?): Come up with a shared plan.

I wonder if we will be ready in the years ahead to come up with a real plan to repair the damage. We must not let ourselves stop short of this.

Let’s see now: there’s already been an official apology from the federal government; a settlement agreement paying compensation to all victims has been implemented (and those victims who chose to opt out of the agreement were able to apply for compensation through other means); a Truth and Reconciliation Commission has been formed as part of the settlement agreement; and healing funds have been available from the government and churches for the last decade. I think most Canadians would say that justice has now been served, and the debt has now been paid. If people such as Dr. Aldred continue to belabour their grievances, it will show that the issue is no longer one of "restorative justice," but about exploiting white guilt feelings in order to keep extorting as much money as possible. This won’t result in reconciliation, but in resentment. I’m reminded of the episode of M*A*S*H where Corporal Klinger was injured while saving Major Winchester’s life, and Major Winchester felt obligated to do good works for Corporal Klinger while he recuperated. Corporal Klinger took advantage of this to the point where Major Winchester said, "Max, there is a fine line between good Samaritan and abused toady--and I am teetering on the precipice!"

I’ve noticed two things about the "reconciliation movement:" (1) It’s always a one-way street, with white people, especially white Christians, doing all the confessing and repenting (an 18th Century Canadian ancestor of mine had his ears cut off by Indians, but I have yet to hear any apology from Indians for that act--although I don't hold today's Canadian Indians responsible for it); (2) It seems to be a perpetual process of confessing and repenting that never seems to arrive at a point where the aggrieved group will say that final reconciliation has taken place.

May 30, 2012 update: Something I should have posted a few weeks ago: That last paragraph has been proven wrong, at least in one recent example. As reported by Nick Martin in the Winnipeg Free Press, April 16, 2012:

There were sweetgrass and tobacco, solemn tradition intermingling with laughter, unspeakable memories and hope for the future, dancing and a feast, cultures coming together.

Archdiocese of Winnipeg Archbishop James Weisgerber was the central figure at Thunderbird House Saturday, still humbled and trying to come to grips with the generosity of spirit that would allow aboriginal people to show forgiveness for the church's role in residential schools.

Weisgerber was adopted Saturday as a brother by Bert and Phil Fontaine, and elders Fred Kelly and Tobasonakwut Kinew, the first such traditional Naabaagoodiwin ceremony celebrated as an act of reconciliation.

"I was very honoured. I was blown away," said Weisgerber, dressed in his traditional black robes and a pair of moccasins. "I've never had a brother. Now I've got four."

Weisgerber spoke repeatedly about the generosity of aboriginal people. "They're the ones who've been hurt.

"As colonials, we're the ones who made the error 125 years ago," said Weisgerber, who acknowledged the damage his church had done to aboriginal people and their culture.

All Manitobans must make the commitment to reconciliation, the archbishop said. "All of us have to do this.

"The heart of reconciliation is forgiveness. There has to be a change of heart. There's a lot of racism on both sides of the divide," he said. "I believe we have a very long way to go, but it's a road worth travelling."

Former Assembly of First Nations national chief Phil Fontaine issued his own apology -- to the Catholics who had shown goodness, but whom he had for years "tarred with the same brush" in "indiscriminately" expressing his bitterness and anger at his treatment as a child in the residential schools.

"That was unfair," Fontaine said. "I've been thinking about this for a long time. It's been a struggle to find some balance in this tragic history."

Fontaine said there were long discussions among the four men before the adoption proposal was put to Weisgerber.

"The community had to be willing to adopt Archbishop Weisgerber," he said.

It was Weisgerber who three years ago asked Pope Benedict XVI to meet with residential school survivors, Fontaine pointed out.

That wasn't a universally popular idea in the Catholic Church, said Weisgerber, "But once the Pope said yes...." Weisgerber said he has been receiving emails from clergy across the country since word broke about the adoption.

Grand Chief Derek Nepinak of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs said he has not contacted other aboriginal leaders about the adoption ceremony.

"This is an initiative led by individuals. It's not a political initiative," Nepinak said. "I'm honoured to be here. This is an historic event. My mom went to residential schools, her mom went, and her mom's mum went."

Nepinak said Saturday's ceremony was a combination of the "relatively recent arrival of the Roman Catholic Church and its ceremonies" and ages-old aboriginal ceremonies.

Kinew told the community gathering "the ceremony means we are now prepared to move ahead... I want to leave residential schools behind me because I want to live my life in a good way."
This is a refreshing change, which does come as a surprise to this blogger; let's hope that this isn't an isolated example, and that things move in the direction of true reconciliation.