HOPE for the HAPLESS

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12


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Yea Though I Walk …

WalkSunday afternoon was a beautiful day for a hike. My wife and kids and I went out to the Bruce trail to enjoy the warm sunshine and cool breezes of a pristine May weekend. Our walk began on an old overgrown country road, remnants of the long gone farms still visible peeking through the encroaching pine trees … old apple trees in full bloom, raspberry bushes pushing up through tall grasses and old fence posts and bird houses peeking out from beyond abandoned lanes.

Soon we moved into the cool shade of the bluff’s mixed forest. The Trillium’s in bloom below and the branches full of bird song up above. What’s this? What’s that? I don’t know … take a picture and we will check the book when we get home. The little ones at times running on ahead in unbridled glee, at other times falling behind as they stooped to play with some twig or root or stone. At times the offered hands were taken, but often they were dismissed with all the force a two and a half year old can muster.Crevice

From the top of the bluff we took the Keyhole side trail. This one not long, but full of twists and turns, dropping down into crevices and scrambling back up and out again. Some still sheltered the last banks of winter’s snow in their shadowy recesses. Sometimes the path got rather narrow and dark, sometimes the footing got a little treacherous, (once I may even have taken a wrong turn) but by helping each other out we came through without incident. Then a short snack in the sunshine streaming to the bottom of one of the gullies, before squeezing through the keyhole itself and making our way back.

And as I hiked along with those I love most I couldn’t help but allegorize just a little.

For no matter how over-grown this world may become, those of us who walk together as Christ’s church can find the wholesome fruits of the faith past down from those who have gone before us. The times and the landscape may change but the gifts are still there … in the prayers, the hymns, the liturgy, and writings of the faithful … even in the Snackmidst of the growing wilderness of this modern day world.

And as we travel we may not always know what to think of everything we see. Much we see in the world around us is both strange and strangely beautiful … but is it safe? Is it good to consume? Will I regret coming into contact with it later on? There is one way to find out … check with The Book. And the more you check, the more you commit to memory, the more you will be able to discern at first glance. Oh yes, I’ve seen this before … best stay clear!

But the most moving part of the allegory came in the most difficult part of the hike. For precisely where things got the most trying they also became the most stunning. As the walls of the crevice began to close in overhead, the beauty began to unfold in unsuspected ways … in the willingness of our group to pull together and help one another, to hold on to each other and step forward in faith and wonder. Then in the midst of it all a small rock, a bright beam of sunshine and a family meal! Does the imagery get any better than this?

Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for thou art with me thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the face oKeyholef mine enemies …

And if that wasn’t good enough, the icing on the cake was the Keyhole itself. Stunningly beautiful … it was impassable unless you got down on your knees! There was no going home, no getting through unless you humbled yourself. And when this walk of life is over and each of us are called to take the hand of our Good Shepherd and follow Him home, isn’t that what each of us will find? This journey through the wilderness, with all it’s beauty and dangers, can only be enjoyed if it is undertaken humbly, and with the help of those whom God has gifted us with … most especially His Son Jesus, and His bride the Church.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.


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Missing Link? or Missing the Mark?

ancient-primate47-MILLION-YEAR-OLD PRIMATE FOSSIL UNVEILED – This time they’ve found it! This time they’ve proven it without a shadow of a doubt! This time they have uncovered the fossilized “missing link.” This find is being hailed as possibly the most important find in the advancement of Evolutionary understanding to date. Some eager to have the whole ID movement quashed, and creationism outlawed, are ready to proclaim that this is just one more nail in the coffin of religious fanaticism that so doggedly denies the FACT of Evolution.

You would think from the pro-evolution, anti-creation hype that is being whipped up that they had found the bones of Jesus Himself! (and not just some supposed long lost potentially connected fore bearer on some fictional family tree.) Behold! They have found your evolutionary ancestor … Or have they?

What they have found (some 26 years ago by the way) is not “the” missing link nor even “a” missing link. It is the fossilized remains of a primate something like a lemur. Does it have traits similar to man? Of course it does … It’s a primate. Just like lemurs, monkeys, and apes have those similar traits even today. It is those similar traits that define such creatures as a primate. It does not prove evolutionary movement to or from anything.

The only thing missing here is the link to common sense and rational thought. It’s like me saying that today I saw a butterfly therefore I am good person. I did indeed see a butterfly and I may indeed be a good person (though you are welcome to disagree) but that does not then mean that one leads to the other. There is no reason to conclude a causal relationship between the two. Similarly, this little fossil had opposable thumbs and humans have opposable thumbs … so what?

Before you buy into the hype and the daring jumps of logic surrounding this latest find do a little digging for yourself. A great place to start is with the recent interview with Dr. David Menton on Issues Etc.

A Fossil of the Alleged Missing Link


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Smell You Later!

stinkWhile ‘nosing’ around the net I came upon this story recently:

ROTTEN OFFICE FRIDGE CLEANUP SENDS SEVEN WORKERS TO HOSPITAL

Published: Wednesday, May 13, 2009 | 12:09 AM ET Canadian Press THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

SAN JOSE, Calif. – A California office worker cleaning a refrigerator full of rotten food created a smell so noxious that it sent seven co-workers to the hospital and made many others ill.

Firefighters had to evacuate the AT&T building in downtown San Jose on Tuesday after the fumes led someone to call emergency services. A hazardous materials team was called in. What crews found was an unplugged refrigerator crammed with moldy food.

Authorities say an enterprising office worker had decided to clean it out, placing the food in a conference room while using two cleaning chemicals to scrub down the mess.

The mixture of old lunches and disinfectant caused 28 people to need treatment for vomiting and nausea.

Authorities say the worker who cleaned the refrigerator didn’t need treatment – she can’t smell because of allergies.

It’s everyone’s dirty little secret … we all know what happened in that office don’t we? We’ve all been part and parcel of the dreaded game of moldy mayhem known as the office fridge (or the school locker). Even if you didn’t put anything in there to serve as the beginnings of monstrous genetic experiment … you saw it growing … and said it was the problem of someone else. But then it begins to spread so maybe you push it a little further back or begin only to use the top shelf. You turn down the temperature to slow the progress. You start bringing food that only needs to be microwaved. But do you clean it up? No way! That’s not my mess – even if it is now everyone’s problem.

We all have a communal fridge in our souls – and in it we gladly give friends and family, community, and causes shelf space. Sure it gets filled with all sorts of good intentions and well-wishes, warm-feelings and good causes … but we don’t always look after it too carefully. Sometimes something will get lost or ignored, and we all know that it only takes one small part of it to sour or fester and the rot quickly spreads. The longer you try to ignore it the worse it gets, the more it smells, and the less likely we are to do anything about it. And make no mistake, others see it … and ignore it … because they know their own fridges are hiding equally monstrous creations.

And that is why so many, Christians included, are often reluctant to deal with the stink and corruption of sin in people. Gossip is allowed to wander freely through people’s lives. Sexual sins are safely hidden in the bedroom. Hatred is allowed to masquerade as tolerance. Love is redefined, or simply made optional. Morals are left to others to sort out for themselves, just so long as I’m left the freedom of my little corner where their stink cannot touch me.

But it always does. And the longer you let it grow the worse off everyone will be when you must finally clean it up. Sin is toxic, even just a little sin. Sin stinks with a stink that can overpower even the strongest of us. Sin, like an office fridge, is everyone’s problem.

And that is why God sent His Son. The woman in the office didn’t succumb to the fumes because she couldn’t smell them. Jesus didn’t succumb to sin, because He is God. Yet He was willing to bear that stink … OUR stink upon the cross so that no one might be overpowered by it again – even if it meant that He must be overwhelmed by it to the point of death. And having left that rot of sin in the grave He rose and come forth again – clean and fresh and smelling of victory. And what’s more, He continues even now to come back again and again through the Word and the Sacraments to clean out the moldy corners of our souls, making our lives full of the aroma of Christ. Making our witness to the reality of sin and the power of forgiveness a sweet smelling fragrance to the world around us … well to those who like having their fridges cleaned out anyway … To those who won’t let the fridge be cleaned it’s just one more stink they will have to put up with until the Hazmat team arrives!

2 Corinthians 2:14-16 But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.


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Can We Talk?

creationI know that I run the risk of ruffling a few feathers out there … but if it leads to a genuine conversation about the one great topic that is forbidden to speak of in this day and age … well let’s risk it.

It seems that the Government of Alberta has gone and shown its great intolerance to the ivory towers of evolutionism in the classroom.  Not that they actually disagreed with it mind you … it’s just that they are about to give the people of Alberta a back-door to do so.

Now don’t get me wrong, I do agree with some of the concerns (if not the reasoning) that educators express with the “willy-nilly” ability of parents to pull their children from any class based upon religious freedom.  It could very easily lead to great confusion and frustration.  But haven’t parents always had that right?  Since when does being able to competently write provincial exams trump personal freedom or the right to stand up for one’s convictions?   And if something is deemed that important to (possibly) that many people such that the whole educational system is undermined … then isn’t a little confusion and frustration a worthy price to pay to begin discussing what is simply not allowed to be spoken of.

Indeed, in a given interview a zoologist seems to be quoted as saying just that …

Most importantly, it calls into question the purpose of a public education system, said Bruseker.  A zoologist by training, Bruseker said he’s well aware that he’s unlikely to change the mind of someone who strongly believes in creationism. But teaching kids to talk about ideas and listening to others is what matters.  “Isn’t it more healthy to have that discussion and create the opportunity for kids to deal with these controversial issues and have the discussion in class?” he asked.  “Isn’t that, the development of critical thinking skills, isn’t that really what public education is supposed to be all about?”

Talking about ideas and listening to others is what matters?  Developing critical thinking?  But would that mean he, and others in the evolutionary camp would be willing to admit creation scientists into the classroom for such a sharing of ideas and pursuit of critical thinking might take place?  Would they be willing to go into a Church to continue the rest of the conversation?  Are they open to debating the science and admitting the underlying worldviews at work on each side as they look at the same evidence in an attempt to actually listen to an idea that does not agree with their own.  I won’t hold my breath.

And here’s why – you just are not allowed to think differently.  You are not allowed to be a reasonable person in our society unless you have the prerequisite “belief” in evolution.  Any other belief is simply unreasonable.  As a government official said in his own words …

Lindsay Blackett, the Tory minister responsible for human rights, said in an interview that the intention of the law is to only allow parents to pull children out when the curriculum specifically covers religions, something that only happens for a few hours each school year. “It’s talking about religion (such as) Hindu, or Muslim, or that type of religion, not … the curriculum with respect to, for instance, evolution,” he said. “That’s science and we’re not arguing science.” …

You see – evolution is science and that means it is true and trustworthy above every other idea in this world … to be feared loved and trusted above all lesser “non-science” things.  End of conversation.