Thursday, March 30, 2006


You know how the "coolest" words always have bad connotations. Sure, that may be a gross over-statement, but then I couldn't get anything to make sense for what I am about to present.

My mother always gets me a "Forgotten English" calendar for Christmas every year. Basically, it is a desk calendar with one bizarre, antiquated English word for every day. Some are garbage and it is quite obvious why they were forgotten, but some are pure genius and the simple fact they have been neglected is a cataclysmic oversight by English-speaking people.

For example, I present to you the Hall of Fame of words from this year's calendar.

Park the biscuit - To sit down
Jank-hole - The privy (toilet) -- I mean come on this one is awesome.
Square dinkham - Okay.... seriously it means O.K.
Nullifidian - One of no faith; a sceptic in matters of religion

Those are a smattering of some of the awesome words that we have not used in the English language for some time. I'd like to initate a movement that starts using these words again. So from now on, when I would like to use your facilities I will say:

"Oi there, I'd like to park my bisuit in the jank-hole, square dinkham?"

Frankly it sounds far dirtier than the "Hey, I'd like to use the bathroom, okay?" would imply.

There's nothing like a crusade to re-add words to an already overloaded language. Goooooo English....striving for 1,000,000 words by 2020.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The poetry of rock...

Here I am at work doing crap like this (not to complain, but honestly):

%macro tranResp (inset=, outset=, outnum1=, outtxt1=, finout=);
data &outset.;
set &inset.;
/* build question ID */
length qid $32. sortkey $15.;
if (questiontype = 'multi' or questiontype = 'rank')
then qid = compress("q"put(gl_qid, 8.0)"_"put(answerDisplaySequence, 3.0));
else qid = compress("q"put(gl_qid, 8.0));

The one saving grace about working at a computer is you can listen to music all day. As I was listening to some just now I heard something cool, which I feel aptly describes our condition as sinners.

It goes like this:

"More than words, you keep to yourself.
Like a curse that fares thee well.
One man came. One truth to tell.
All this blame. Hammers your way to hell.
I've got a feeling It's not the safest place to start."

That's from a band called Mae, the song is called "Someone Else's Arms" -- don't be fooled by the title, I don't think they are talking about ladies, I believe they are talking about the arms of Christ.

I just thought that was pretty cool.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Our fathomless God

Today has been a glorious day in the Word! I heard two fantastic sermons and ultimately rounded out my day by partaking in the Lord's Supper with my fellow believers. What a great day!

What really left me thinking today was the passage Romans 11:33-36 that was used in this morning's service. I think what I usually forget as a simple man is that God is working in all things, all the time, for His glory. Too often I think we find ourselves looking inwardly for solutions to everyday problems, or even uncommon problems, when really we have the vastness of the knowledge of God at our disposal (should he be willing to reveal it). What is more amazing is that he is willing to share that wisdom with us (see James 1:5-8) It's a very human characteristic to look at ourselves for help and to "question" God's ability to provide a solution. It is fortunate that He is infinitely patient with our misgivings, and should He desire, willing to give us the solution anyway.

The passage from Romans 11:33-36 reads as follows:

33Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
34"For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?"
35"Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?"
36For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Whew! That's my God. That's your God. And if he's not your God then that's your judge and I dare say there's fear in that.

I think one of the most poignant parts of the Bible are when God reveals that little iota of himself. I think particularly of Job, when the Lord appears to him in the whirlwind. Or of Moses when God appears as a blazing bush (ever stopped to note that God preserves the bush, despite the fact it is aflame with his very essence..that's a God holding all things, even a small bush, together). But even without those "burning bush" moments we as Christians are continually immersed in moments of glory and worship. The fact that you breathe is a glorious thing all on it's own.

As usual, English does not do this passage justice. Although it isn't Greek, I can assure you the Bible sounds way better in German.

"Denn von ihm und durch ihn und zu ihm find alle Dinge. Ihm sei Ehre in Ewigkeit. Amen" (Römer 11:36)

May we simply glory in God to his glory this week.

Monday, March 20, 2006

He that bloggeth striveth after the wind...

I was dared to make this post...

Could it be that blogging is also a vain pursuit of true joy and a "striving after the wind"? Or is there enough wind generated by these blogs, that one need not look very far?

This is like the classic: "Rhode Island. It is neither a road nor an island. Discuss."

I believe an old-fashioned Johnny Carson "Hi-yoooo" is in order.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Seal Hunt

Not that I want to make a habit of advertising for what I would deem ill-concieved advocacy groups, but I ran across an ad for "Friends of Animals" in a magazine. After seeing Paul McCartney act like an idiot on an ice floe and then having to see this baby seal propaganda, I figured it was time to take a stand.

First things first though, check out their website: Friends of Animals , and the article entitled: "Photos from the 2006 International Day of Protest Against Canada's Seal Hunt". There are some stunning photos there of people protesting outside the Canadian Consulate in New York. Yep, people in New York protesting a hunt in Eastern Canada, where if I recall correctly, New York does not exist. At any rate, at some point during the comments of this particular article you will notice that I offered my two cents. Normally, I don't concern myself with this sort of discourse, however, in this case and in virtually every case with some misrepresentation of farming, I write something. Now I certainly don't want to pretend that I have all the answers, because I know I do not. The thing I like to do is see the argument and offer a second opinion. I don't always do it gracefully, but sometimes, I think it's warranted.

In this case, I wrote the following:

"I find this whole issue disheartening. Perhaps unexpectedly though, I am saddened by the overt propaganda generated by groups like yourselves. What concerns me most is the wholesale bias toward saving seals, when there is very little compassion shown to the men and women whose ability to provide for their families is threatened by these types of boycotts. I don’t pretend to have all the information as I am only an observer as yourselves. However, considering this protest is coming from New York, I imagine very few of the protesters have actually been to Canada’s East Coast, or even seen a real live seal for that matter.
The people involved in this seal hunt are not cold, hard murderers. What I take to be the more accurate scenario is that these are local people who make part of their living fishing. Now if you know anything about fishing you know that this is a dangerous and hard life. These people don’t live in downtown condos nor do they see their families everyday. All they are trying to do by taking part in the seal hunt is make some off-season money so they provide for their families. It may not be inherently obvious, but you can’t fish when the water is frozen. What are they to do should their ability to take part in this hunt be stopped? Will you provide the money for them to provide for their families in the fishing off-season? I suspect not. There simply aren’t thousands of jobs waiting to be filled in the East Coast of Canada. I’d imagine (and not to be disparaging to East Coast Canadians) that a job is better than no job. So please stop cluttering up our magazines and newspapers with this nonesense about the seal hunt. If you think it’s inhumane that’s fine, but keep your opinion to yourself. You aren’t educating people, you’re actually mis-educating many. Go live in Canada’s East Coast for a year (a full year, including the winter) and I guarantee you that your opinions will soften.

Additionally, my earlier comment about propaganda stands. To the best of my knowledge, the white seal pup so brazenly portrayed on everything you publish is a gross misrepresentation. The white-coated seal is a baby harp seal. Canada banned hunting white-coated harp seals in 1987 (look it up). The official word is that young harp seals lose their white coat after about 12 - 14 days, at which point they are fair game to hunters. Start putting those bulbous grey, adolescent harp seals on your posters and I’ll stop believing it’s propaganda. Prove me wrong.

P.S. I appreciate the “Blog Editor’s” attachment on the posts that grab the readers attention. It’s the shameless ability to respond when someone can’t return the favour that strikes me as noteworthy characteristic of this valuable organization."

And this was the response:

[Blog editors’ note: First, you happen to be writing to the only advocacy group we know that will publish a comment like yours. Second, we are also the only one that has specifically and continuously insisted that the government of Canada support opportunity and the right to meaningful work for its coastal residents. Perhaps what you would disagree on is whether killing seals — once they are a mere two weeks old, no less — is meaningful work. We take a clear stand on this; it’s our job to do so. The president of this group has been to the seal kill itself, and before that, Alice Herrington, this group’s founder, was there observing the killing as early as the 1960s. So, you indeed do not have all of the information. Thank your for your opinion.]

Now the question is, did they even answer the questions/issues I put forth or did they simply hide behind a couple important people. Did they offer any solutions for employing Eastern Canadians currently involved in the seal hunt, or is classic advocacy where they are all talk and no solution. I am also in awe of the blatant propaganda they use. Spare us the white-furred baby seal. No one hunts those anymore. I'd bet if we did a huge ad campaign about the benefits of an all steak diet, they would try and paint us with red paint or something. The duplicity is always astonishing.

I personally like how they are trying to sell me on the fact that they are "allowing" me to express my opinions. Who are these wahoos?

I recognize that this is an abnormal departure from what I'd normally like to write about, but these types of people get me a little hot under the collar. I still think that they should all take my "Live on the East Coast for a Year" challange. We could make it a reality show.

The Blogo-verse

So it turns out that my foray into the blogging lifestyle has been noticed. Perhaps I should have been more careful. Perhaps I should have waded slower into the murky depths. At any rate, the environment that I have discovered here is somewhat unexpected. What is especially difficult to withstand is the berating and belittling attitude of vistors to this site. The sheer magnitude of which has forced me to consider the issues raised.

With this harsh reality setting in, I'd like to pass on a number of practices I have learned in my short time of blogging:

1. Post all the time. Even if you have nothing to say. This is an obvious result of the huddled masses who are panting for the inspired genius that flows from the mighty blog. Without the comforting words that you provide, there would not be electricty or escalators or evergreens.
2. Post still more. Once again, I cannot stress this enough. If you aren't posting people will get nervous. They will start thinking: "Maybe he doesn't like me anymore." or "Why won't he return my comments" or "I thought things were going fine and then he dumped me and now my heart is shatter-ed". To avoid these emotional mishaps, the lesson learned is post. Post until you wish you'd never started the stupid thing in the first place...and then post on how you wish you'd never started the stupid thing...and then post on that. You see how the circle of life continues.
3. Use a bigger font. Some people need canes and some people need breath mints, but still other people need glasses. I spend the majority of my time in front of a computer. I guess I am attuned to any size of font now. I don't even bother going to the optomitrist anymore because I can read the copyright verbage at the bottom of the eye chart. Whoever said computers are detrimental to your eyesight can shove off. I'm like 60/20 now or something... That said, I ain't gun-ta change the size of the font. It's ludicriously small, and that's just fine with me. Besides it makes me look smarter because it appears as thought I write more, which is what I thought the point of this was in the first place.

So there you have it. That's what I have learned in my limited blogging days. To those ingrates who can find nothing but fault, I'd remind them of the wonderful analogy I am about to draw:
You wouldn't throw an infant into the ocean and expect it to swim, likewise don't expect a person with a life to post all the time.

Or as Walt Whitman would say: Boo-yah!

Tell me that wasn't apt.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Religion in silver slippers

Every wednesday evening my wife and I teach a "sunday school" class of young kids (ages 9 - 13). As a lesson we've been reading through Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan, in ye Olde English, at our pastors request. It's been quite the experience; especially, for me as I continually see children respond with such dear faith to the truths that appear out of that journey. I am repeatedly challanged to be far more faithful in my own spiritual walk.

Tonight's section of the book had a number of very important lessons: For those who have read the book we just ventured out of Vanity Fair after the death of Faithful and have met Mr. By-Ends on the road. If you haven't read the book check the posted link above. In either case, the section I am referring to is Part One, Section VI. What really struck me tonight was a portion that dealt with fairweather faith.

At one point Mr. By-Ends elaborates on his "statement" of faith as follows,
"Tis true we somewhat differ in Religion from those of the stricter sort, yet but in two small points: First, we never strive against Wind and Tide: Secondly, we are always most zealous when Religion goes in his Silver Slippers; we love much towalk with him in the Street, if the Sun shines, and the people applaud him."

The text is outlining an issue that is all too prevelant in religious circles today: the "Fairweather Christian". No doubt you have witnessed someone who has exhibited this behaviour, I know that I have. Perhaps the more pertinent question, though, is not whether you have seen it, rather what is your own response to adversity? Have we become so complacent in our Christian walks that we have not considered our own response to hardship? In another sense, have we made our faith into something that is only necessary when it affords us some sort of gain? (At which point I would also question the reality of that faith).

Christian (who is the title character of Pilgrim's Progress) responds to Mr. By-Ends in this way: "If you will go with us, you must go against Wind and Tide, the which, I perceive, is against your opinion; you must also own Religion in his Rags, as well as when in his Silver Slippers, and stand by him too, when bound in Irons, as well as when he walketh the Streets with applause."

As Christians we are called to expect tribulations and trials and should grace be extended, to endure them without fail. We must not satisfy ourselves with shallow faith that flees at the first sign of trouble or is only apparent when it suits our purposes. At the other end of the spectrum, we see that we should also be able to effectively appreciate the successes of Christianity without depreciating them or shying away from them. Christianity should be the way you live and no matter what happens the first response should be to look to Christ. Whether it's out of repentence or grief or shame or joy.

If nothing else, the question I wanted to really leave out there was: how do we temper our faith? Is it forged on nothing but saving faith in Jesus Christ or has it become a mask that we wear, convieniently dissappearing when trials or adverisity arise? Depending on how you respond to that question it may be time to prayerfully evaluate your faith and dependency on Christ. For I am quite certain that the all-suffiicient creater of the universe will not tolerate wishy-washy Christianity in that final day.