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Showing posts from June, 2013

Defence of Marriage Act

The United States Supreme Court decision in the Defence of Marriage Act DOMA marks the beginning of the end of a free society. The ruling was not just a legal case but a judgment on the hearts and morals of those who believe differently then the majority opinion. It was stated that the intent of DOMA was to "disparage and to injure" those who are in a same sex marriage. Justice Scalia in his discenting opinion makes it clear that there were valid reasons for the DOMA, which have nothing to do with stigmatizing those homosexual.

However, the abuse of power that was used to promote this case is even more concerning than the decision itself. Justice Scalia makes it clear that the Supreme Court should only rule in cases where there is an injury to one of the parties, in this case, both parties agreed with each other.
What the petitioner United States asks us to do in the case before us is exactly what the respondent Windsor asks us to do: not to provide relief from the judgment…

Church Membership

What is church membership? Church membership is a process that is required to fully participate in the life of the local church. I can't think of a church that does not have some sort of membership whether it is formal or informal. The restrictions implemented for those who are not official members vary from group to group. The local church I am now a part of requires church membership in order to vote on church issues, whereas the church I grew up in requires membership to participate in communion. The methods and requirements of church membership may vary but the concepts are still the same.

The above definition of church membership is from observation of the current state of affairs, but it is incorrect. Church membership should be defined as anybody who is a member of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:12). It is not a matter of process but of recognition just like what Peter did when he preached to the Gentiles, and I have already discussed here. It is important that local churche…

Humble Living in the Western World

Moses was a humble man and gave some great advice to the Israelites before they entered into the promised land. The Israelites had just spent 40 years wandering in the desert because of their rebellion against God, and they were just about to cross over into the promised land. Moses knew that their new found success may go to their heads and warned them of the dangers of living in plenty. His advice is just as applicable to the Western world today.
Beware lest you say in your heart, 'My power and might of my hand have gotten me this wealth' (Deut 8:17) When you are successful at anything you starting that you must be really smart or work harder than everybody else, but in reality it has all been given to you. "What do you have that you did not receive?" If you are smart it is most likely because your parents are smart and you were given a good education. Just think about all the difficulties that you could of had, such as, autism or down syndrome, and you should real…

Trials

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There are no easy answers when you are faced with difficult situations. The pain is deep within your bones and all of your thoughts are focused on it. It feels as if God has turned against you and is pursuing you in destruction. Why me? What am I doing wrong? These questions swirl in your head but no answers are forthcoming. It is the unknown that keeps you up at night and raises your blood pressure. These situations, however, are nothing new, they have been happening for thousands of years.
The Israelites went through a similar situation when they were exiled from Jerusalem. This was the promised land that God had given them, but now He was taking it away because of their disobedience. Jeremiah, who is overcome with grief because of his love for his people, shows us how to deal with these difficult situations.
But this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:   The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your fait…

Cycling

I have spent most of my life playing traditional team sports, such as, basketball, football, hockey, and volleyball. Playing sports is an enjoyable way to socialize with people and test yourself both mentally and physically. When you are younger it is your physical abilities that you rely on the ability to run, jump, throw, and kick, but as you get older you start to rely on your mental abilities. This change is very subtle at first but becomes more pronounced. This along with other changes are not bad because it allows you to explore new sports that you may never had tried before because you always played team sports.
This past weekend I cycled with a friend of mine from Montreal to approximately Sherbrooke. It took us about 5.5 hours over a distance of around 165 km. I have been cycling for the past 2 years, and I really enjoy it. It is hard to understand why I enjoy it since it is essentially pain management, but there is something about self propulsion that is exciting. It is not …

Annoying God

God is not like you and me. He created the world and we are at His mercy. Instead of lording that over us, He allows us to live freely. Although He has the power and right to do whatever He wants, He is patiently looking after His creation for good. His benevolence is often taken for granted and we treat Him like He is the creation. We think that we are in control and know what is best, but that just makes Him annoyed with us. This is not a new phenomenon but one that has been going on for a long time. Let's look at a couple of examples from thousands of years ago. It is true that somethings just don't change. Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delights in them (Mal. 2:17). Often we try to find an excuse for someones behaviour, and say that they are not to blame for their behaviour. We believe that humans are basically good and everybody is going to Heaven. Only when it hits close to home do we call people evil. The truth is that people who do evil…

History

"There is nothing new under the sun." Every generation likes to think they are more progressive than the previous generations, but they really are not. Although technology has increased dramatically in the last one hundred years, the human condition is still the same when it comes to beliefs. We may have more information than we had before but people are still people. Understanding the nature of history is crucial to having beliefs that are robust and true. There are two aspects that are especially noteworthy, context and consensus.
It is important not to take a historical event out of its context. Understanding the different nuances of the culture that you are in is difficult enough, let alone trying to understand a culture hundreds of years ago.  For example, making definitive statements that Christianity was the cause of the Crusades may be taking things a bit to far. Did the United States invade Iraq because of oil or because there was a terrorist threat? Even though thi…

Freedom from sin

We are free from sin, not free to sin. This is a small but life altering distinction to make for Christians.

It is a lack of being perfect (i.e. sin) that keeps us from having a relationship with God. The only way to have a relationship with God is to be like He is, and He is holy (1 Peter 1:15). Several thousand years ago God gave the law to Israel. This law described the perfection required for someone to have a relationship with God. However, not one person was able to obey the law perfectly. The failure of Israel demonstrated that human beings were corrupt even in their hearts and needed a heart transplant in order to please God. God knowing this sent Jesus down to earth. Jesus obeyed the law perfectly. And His perfection is available to all who put their trust in Him completely for their own perfection.

Before someone has faith in Jesus Christ they are essentially living by the law. They are trying to have a relationship with God through their own efforts at perfection, which mos…

From Shittim to Gilgal

It is easy to read the Bible without actually reading it. These are some new discoveries that I have found.
O my people, remember what Balak king of Moab devised, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him, and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the saving acts of the Lord (Micah 6:5). Balak was a Moabite king who lived opposite the Israelites when they were camped in Shittim (Num. 25:1). The Moabites were scared of the horde Israelites and what they had done to the Amorites (Num. 21). Fearing their destruction in battle, Balak came up with a plan to ask Balaam the son of Beor to curse the Israelites. He thought the only way he could beat them was if God was against them (Num. 22:6). The problem is that each time Balaam went to curse the Israelites he ends up blessing them instead. This happens three times and it enrages Balak. Balaam says his hands are tied, he can only say what God tells him to say. We find out later that Balaam did not give up on cursing the …

Miracles

Do you really believe in miracles? Having been immersed in Christianity my whole life, it is very easy to believe in miracles. I grew up listening to stories about water being turned into wine, the blind being made to see, the sun standing still, and people being raised from the dead. Far from these stories seeming too good to be true, they seemed normal. Even now I have to remind myself of how incredible these stories are. Unfortunately growing up has made me quite the critic. I am usually the one questioning the person who is telling a story about when they saw a cripple walk or a UFO. It is not that I want to be critical, it is just that I have seen so many of those stories to be lacking the necessary evidence.

Some people who claim to be Christian take the stance that miracles do not happen. The Jesus Seminar has actually taken it so far as to doubt any stories in the Bible that seem miraculous. The problem is that if miracles do not exist, Christians do not exist. If Jesus is not…