Saturday Selections – Sept 11, 2021
Focusing on income equality is envious and unjust God wants us to help the poor (Deut 15:7-11), but He also told us not to covet what the rich have (Ex. 20:17). That, then, is the problem with those that focus on income inequality: they may want to help the poor, but theirs is an envious approach. And it shouldn't surprise us that it doesn't work, as the video below shows. What does the Bible say about mandatory vaccines? (10-min read) P. Andrew Sandlin argues that while the Bible doesn't speak directly to mandatory vaccines, it does offer principles which apply. Incrementalism and the Texas abortion law There are some spats going on between the two pro-life camps – incrementalists and abolitionists – over Texas's new pro-life law. Douglas Wilson highlights the strengths and shortcomings of both groups with this must-read for all pro-lifers! Late economist warns about being overly confident in "Science" We've heard a lot about "believing the Science" and "following the Science." But to act as if there is only the Science, and no alternate expert opposing opinions is to treat some scientists (and not others) as having God-like expertise, beyond mistakes and above questioning. Then there is the problem that Science, even were it to be definitive, only gives us insights into what is, and not what ought to be done. The cost of lockdowns may exceed the benefit... It's all arguable, but that those costs land largely on the poor is more clear. How one mother saved her child from going transgender It was about controlling the child's education and who got to be her teachers. Jumping bugs....in slow motion (7 min) Anything that can fly is amazing, and that so many different-looking bugs can fly is even more amazing. Some bugs even have gears – God is an artist and an engineer!
Saturday Selections – September 4, 2021
Why does it seem like the smartest people in the room aren't Christian? (5 min) Michael Krugor, author of Surviving Religion 101, with some encourage...
O’Toole: doctors shouldn’t be forced to murder aging adults themselves, but need to make sure the murders get done
Saturday Selections – August 28, 2021
God won't give you more than you can handle? (6 min) Tim Barnett explains why the assertion that "God won't give you more than you can handle" isn't ...
Residential schools: what worldview is to blame?
We’ve seen at least ten Canadian churches burnt down and others damaged by fire since unmarked graves at two former residential schools became front page news in June. Many children who attended these schools did not live to return to their families, and it’s not a leap to think the arsonists are blaming the churches for their deaths. That’s the direction Prime Minister Trudeau took too, when he called on the Roman Catholic Church to apologize for their involvement. There is blame to be directed at individuals and organizations. However, to learn the right lesson here we need to look beyond just the people, and find out what worldview was the root cause. We can point to people who professed to be Christian as perpetrators, and the State was overseeing it all. So was the problem that people were acting like Christians, or that they were acting like agents of a secular State? Was this tragedy caused by too much Christianity or too little? To answer, let’s compare and contrast the worldviews that were involved: Christianity, and the secular worldview that has long been prevalent in government. Secularism is godless and consequently holds that the State is the highest authority, since it is the mightiest (if there is no God, then why wouldn’t might makes right?). The only limits on its power are self-imposed. The State gives rights and therefore can also take them away. Thus parents have only as much authority as the State grants them, and the State can take away that authority whenever it wishes. Under this worldview education is a State responsibility, if it so decides. Christianity acknowledges that God is the highest authority, and that He’s allotted limited authority to not only the State, but also to parents. God is the source of our rights via His commandments so, for example, his prohibitions against stealing and murder give us rights to property and life. While the State does often violate those rights, it can never take them away. God has given parents the primary role in the education of their children (Deut. 4:9, 6:7, 11: 19, Josh. 24:15, Prov. 1:8, 3:1, 15:5, Eph. 6:6, Heb. 12:7-8, etc.). When the Canadian government took these children away from their parents, it was acting as godless governments have always done, and in a manner consistent with secular conviction: without restraint, and as if might makes right. However, when professed Christian individuals and groups aided in these abductions they were acting in opposition to the Truth they professed, against principles God spells out in His Word. We need to understand then that the horrors perpetuated at these residential schools were not caused by Christianity, but by its lack. Today our government continues using schooling to indoctrinate children against the values of their parents. In the State's public system the abduction is no longer physical, but still mental and spiritual, with children taught the government’s secular perspective on God, the unborn, sexuality, rights, gender, and more. As our country continues to look at what happened in these residential schools, God’s people need to help their friends and neighbors unpack why it went so horribly wrong. It was wrong, but not according to the secular worldview – that the State disregarded parents is completely in keeping with our current Prime Minister's secular worldview. The only reason these abductions were wrong is because God is in fact King. They were wrong because He has granted parents the responsibility to care for and educate their children, and the State had no authority to take our children away. The lesson Canada needs to learn is to reject godless governance, and acknowledge Jesus as Lord. Photo by Blake Elliot/Shutterstock.com....
Texas declares that cutting off children’s body parts is child abuse
In August, Texas Governor Greg Abbott asked his Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to review whether transgender surgeries on children could be classified as abuse. In arguing that they should be, Governor Abbott wrote, “Subjecting a child to genital mutilation through reassignment surgery creates a ‘genuine threat of substantial harm from physical injury to the child.’” It took some courage for him to ask for the review. But it might have ended there if DFPS commissioner Jaime Masters hadn’t run with it and agreed that yes, it was abuse. Both men were pursuing an opportunity to defend these children, and by backing each other up, by adding courage to courage, the two men made common sense common again. And we can all make it the more so by spreading news of their sensible stand. But even as we can celebrate their stand against the emasculation of boys, we can still ask when the self-emasculation of Christian politicians will end. Even these two, among our bravest political leaders, were unwilling to defend God’s truth here as God’s truth, that transgender surgeries are abuse because gender is determined by God and no other (Gen. 1:27)....
Saturday Selections – August 21, 2021
A pro-life opportunity (2 min) The folks who brought us The Magical Birth Canal, No Uterus, No Say, and Modern Child Sacrifice is looking for funds to create a 6-part pro-life series. If you want to know more, or help fund the effort, click on the link above. 8 things more dangerous for our kids than COVID We teach our children not to treat small things as big. Covid is a thing. But for children it is a much smaller thing than it is for adults. Plastics help green the planet Governments that have designated marriage as being between whom or even what ever, gender as being malleable, population as a problem, abortion as a right, and euthanasia as healthcare, may soon be designating plastic as a toxin. Might their designation be wrong once again? After all, plastics have their benefits... "...refined petroleum products... have gradually reduced the demand for wild fauna such as whales (whale oil, baleen, perfume base), birds (feathers), elephants, polar bears, alligators and other wild animals (ivory, fur, skin), trees and other plants (lumber, firewood, charcoal, rubber, pulp, dyes, green manure), agricultural products (fats and fibres from livestock and crops, leather, dyes and pesticides from plants), work animals and the large quantities of food they consume (horses, mules, oxen) and human labour in various forms (lumbering, agricultural work)." British celebrity comes out as non-binary and... Korean The world has no words. In the video at the bottom of this article, the talk show host buys into this fellow – Oli London – as having transitioned into non-binary, repeatedly calling him "them." But then the panel of guests tries to explain why transgender is fine, but transracial is not. And they can't do it – or rather, what they say, that this fellow can't really know what it is like to be Korean, applies all the more so for men not ever being able to know what it is like to be women (and vice versa). But while the world has no words, we do: God made us male and female (Gen. 5:2). And to pretend that anyone other than God defines reality, is to descend into this sort of nonsense. What happens when doctors can't tell the truth? (15-minute read) As the subtitle reads: "Whole areas of research are off-limits. Top physicians treat patients based on their race. An ideological 'purge' is underway in American medicine." Is the answer to past discrimination to be "race-conscious" the other way, discriminating now in favor of blacks and other minority groups? God condemns partiality (Lev. 19:15, Acts 10:24), and calls on us to treat others, not as they've treated us in the past – it isn't "do unto others as they've done unto you" – but as we ourselves would like to be treated (Matt. 7:12). So adding discrimination on top of discrimination is just adding one wrong to another. And it is not simplistic to say two wrongs don't make a right. If killing is understood as a "cure" If when you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail, what happens when you decide killing people is medicine? It's inevitable that you'll apply this "treatment" to more and more illnesses: euthanasia will be seen as the solution to everything from old age, to pain, to mental illnesses, teen anxiety, and loneliness. However, when you view life as a gift from God, then healthcare will be understood as a means of preserving and protecting that gift, and then doctors and nurses will be challenged to apply their creativity and care to easing pain, and enhancing living. When Jordan Peterson broke down talking about Jesus (8 min) John McCray, from the Whaddo You Meme?? podcast, reflects on Jordan Peterson's passionate (and yet, as of now, still unrepentant) response to Jesus Christ. ...
Saturday Selections – Aug 14, 2021
Save the planet by not having kids. What would you say? God says that children are a blessing and when we start with that premise, then we'll stop looking at more children as simply more mouths to feed. Then we'll recognize that we come with hands that can produce, and brains that can solve problems. We reflect our Maker's creativity in that we can even create resources out of refuse. Are people really like crumpled paper? We should teach our kids not to insult others, but we shouldn't teach them that words will scar them for life. There is such a thing as apologizing, and being forgiven...and, as this article relates, that can even lead to stronger relationships than before. The "noble lies" of COVID-19 In James 5:12. God tells us that we should let our yes be yes and our no be no. What happens when we won't do so can be seen in Americans' response to their country's top health official, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has owned up to telling "noble lies." The problem with lies, no matter how well-meaning, is that if you are willing to tell them, people don't have a reason to trust you when it matters. Where did this limit of 1.5°C of warming come from? (5 min/1 hr read) The UNs’ IPCC 2018 Special Report on 1.5°C Warming "expressly stated that it did not complete a cost-benefit analysis of limiting warming to 1.5°C” and only "argued that 2°C warming would have bigger impacts than 1.5°C, but it did not say that the policies to hit the lower target would be worth the cost.” The biblical take: sensible people count the cost (Luke 14:28-32). The link leads to a short 5-minute article, and also a longer 1-hour report. 100 years ago Hitler became leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party The Nazis are sometimes portrayed as having been Christian and capitalist, but they were not nearly. Jordan Peterson with a problem for atheism (6 min) Peterson points out – with the help of Fyodor Dostoevsky – that without God, it isn't reasonable to be moral. Peterson isn't speaking as a Christian here, but even as a quasi agnostic/theist he recognizes you can't have good without God. ...
Saturday Selections – Aug 7, 2021
The Genius of Flight (11 min) A close look at birds reveals the Genius behind the design of their feathers, heart, muscles, navigation system, and mo...
Saturday Selections – July 31, 2021
Unequal results aren't proof of injustice The impartiality that God calls us to is that of equal treatment (Lev. 19:15, Deut 1:16-17, James 2:1-7) no...
Saturday Selections – July 17, 2021
A monarch's journey (3 min) This butterfly accomplishes its fantastic journey in not simply a matter of months, but a matter of generations – they fly to a refuge that only their great-great-grandparents have seen. When Martyn Lloyd-Jones confronted a pastor who loved controversy and denunciation Sometimes bluntness and harsh words are needed – sometimes the sheep have to be warned in no uncertain terms about a dangerous idea, and the person pushing it (Ez. 33:6). But in this age of "hot takes" and online bashing, Lloyd-Jones demonstrates what God is teaching in Proverbs 15:1. Alcohol use and the Christian Chris Gordon makes the biblical case. Difference between conservative and liberal Christians "The root of our disagreement is this: sees the Bible as quite clear on the second greatest commandment but open to interpretation about the first." How God grabbed hold of this liberal lesbian professor (15-min read) Pride month is done, but in Canada, Pride Season persists. So how can we help Christians and others who are struggling with same-sex temptations? One way is to point them to testimonies like Rosaria Butterfield's here (the author of Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert) which show "that the solution to all sin is Christ's atoning blood." What is a woman? (5 min) When Will Witt asks university students to define "What is a woman?" they can't do it. Why not? We know. In divorcing the word "woman" from its biological underpinnings, the world has had to tie it to personal feelings instead. But that doesn't make any sense: what does it mean to feel like a woman, if no one can even define what a woman is? Witt is wonderful here, but Christians need to go further still. It can be fun to beat up on the world's nonsense, but exposing lies isn't enough. We need to share God's Truth, that He has made us male and female (Gen. 1:27). ...
Saturday Selections - July 10, 2021
Is Joe Biden Catholic? Joe Biden thinks he can be for the murder of 800,000 unborn children a year and still be a good Roman Catholic. While we'd love him to turn to Christ and away from Rome, we can thank God for how He is using the Roman Catholic Church's pro-life position to highlight how monstrous Biden's abortion stance is. Reclaiming the peppered moth from evolution (10-minute read) This icon of evolution isn't an example of evolution at all. Should Christians identify with their homosexual or alcoholic temptations? The Presbyterian Church of America is debating to what extent Christians should identify with their same-sex attraction. While the act is recognizes as sinful, some are touting the inclination as being defining. The space between courting and hooking up Tim Challies explains how both hooking up and courting can put a lot of weight on a first date. The real Lord of the Flies (15-minute read) For English teachers out there, here's a real-life Lord of the Flies account, but when these 6 boys were stranded on an island for more than a year, they didn't descend into the savagery described in William Golding's classic. Was Golding simply wrong about human nature? That might be the impression the article leaves. But as John Stonestreet notes, it downplays the religious convictions of the boys. Their Judeo-Christian (in this case Catholic) upbringing gave them insights into our fallen nature, and the need to turn to God. What about medical marijuana? (3 min) Douglas Wilson, author of Devoured by Cannabis, addressing medical marijuana usage. Lest there be any confusion, he is not talking about using CBD oil, as his case against marijuana usage (made in his book, and other videos) is that it is an intoxicant, which CBD oil is not. ...
Residential schools and the devastation of State-perpetrated family breakup
For the past several months, Canada has been convulsed by the heartbreaking rediscovery of hundreds—and likely thousands—of child graves outside residential schools where Indigenous children were placed (incarcerated is probably a better word) by the Canadian government to “kill the Indian in the child.” The history of residential schools is one of the blackest in Canadian history, and anyone who has read even portions of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report (I did research on forced abortions in residential schools several years ago) must conclude that this was a systematic crime committed against entire peoples. As Terry Glavin wrote in the National Post: "Imprisoned in chronically underfunded institutions that were incubation chambers for epidemic diseases, the children died in droves. Enfeebled by homesickness, brutal and sadistic punishments and wholly inadequate nutrition, they died from tuberculosis, pneumonia, the Spanish influenza and measles, among any number of proximate causes. At the Old Sun boarding school in Alberta, there were years when children were dying at 10 times the rate of children in the settler population… "The TRC report chronicles barbaric punishments, duly recorded by federal bureaucrats and officials with the churches that ran the schools. Students shackled to one another, placed in handcuffs and leg irons, beaten with sticks and chains, sent to solitary confinement cells for days on end — and schools that knowingly hired convicted “child molesters.” Only a few dozen individuals have ever been prosecuted and convicted for the abuse those children endured." In much of the debate over the nuances of these re-emerging stories, I think an opportunity for appropriate empathy is sometimes lost. Yes, it is true that not all of the children were abused. Yes, it is true that healthcare standards during that time meant that diseases were far more deadly. Yes, some students remain ambivalent about their experiences to this day. But none of this changes the central fact of the matter: Children were forcibly removed by the state from their families for the express purpose of destroying their family bonds and eradicating their language and culture. If they'd come for our kids... I hail from the Dutch diaspora in Canada, and like many immigrant groups in our multicultural patchwork, our communities have remained largely culturally homogenous. Imagine if the Canadian government had decided, at some point, that Dutch-Canadian (or Sikh or Ukrainian or Jewish) culture needed to be destroyed for the good of the children in those communities, who needed to be better assimilated. Then, imagine if the government forcibly removed children as young as three years old from the parental home – state-sanctioned kidnapping. At school, they were deprived of their grandparents, parents, siblings, language, and culture—and told that their homes were bad for them. At the end of the experience, if the children survived disease, abuse, bullying, and loneliness, he or she would have been remade in the image of the state – and community bonds would have been severed and many relationships irrevocably destroyed. The children who died of disease were often buried on school grounds. That means many children were taken by the government – and their families simply never saw them again. Imagine, for just a moment, if that was your family. If you were removed from your family. If your children were removed from you. How might you feel about Canada if her government had, for generations, attempted to destroy everything precious to you? It is a question worth reflecting on. Over the past decade, as religious liberty has been steadily eroded by Western governments, many Christians have wondered, fearfully, whether the authorities will eventually interfere with how they raise their children. Christian parents have been presented as a threat to their own children because of their “hateful” Christian values. When considering the residential schools, Christians should realize that what happened to Indigenous people in Canada is their own worst nightmare. This happened to real children and real families within living memory. Those families have not yet recovered. That devastation cannot be undone – it can only be survived. The intergenerational damage from these state-inflicted wounds ripples forward in time – and social conservatives, of all people, should be able to understand the fallout from family breakup. Except in this case, the families were forcibly broken up, against their will. As a father and member of large families, I cannot fathom the helplessness, despair, and rage that those who saw their family members stolen from them must have felt. Imagine losing your three-year-old son or daughter to the government, with no recourse for getting your child back. Imagine never seeing that child again. Hatred is absolutely never the answer. But I can certainly understand it. Why minimize this crime? If it had been my child stolen from me, who then died from disease years later and was never returned, I can imagine how I would feel if the response from people was: “Well, lots of people died from disease.” Or: “Many of the educators tried their best.” Or: “It wasn’t feasible to send the bodies of the stolen children home.” I can imagine how I would feel if I heard that in response to raw pain and grief at state-perpetrated injustice. I would feel as if people weren’t listening; didn’t care; and were simply, once again, making excuses. There are times when injustice must be faced in the raw, and the intricacies of healthcare in the early part of the last century can be discussed some other time. Over the past several weeks, residential school survivors have come forward anew to detail their experiences. Many of them struggled with substance abuse as a result of what they endured; many of the issues with alcohol and drugs on some Indigenous reserves today stem from the state-perpetrated breakup of their families. It is easy for those looking at reserves from the outside in to criticize without realizing the context for the state of many families, which would likely still be whole if the Canadian government had not intentionally destroyed them. This is not to say that people bear no responsibilities for their actions. It is to say that we should consider how we would think if the government had perpetrated this on our own communities. Christians know how important families are For several generations, social conservative and Christian scholars have been warning that family breakup is at the root of many of our social ills. Largescale family breakup results in crime, risky behavior, substance abuse, mental illness, PTSD, and other traumas and anti-social behavior. Fatherlessness is one of the greatest disadvantages a boy can face. In the case of our society at large, family breakup was largely facilitated by the Sexual Revolution (and in many communities, wealth has cushioned the blow and masked the damage). In Indigenous communities, family breakup was inflicted by the state, and the consequences they have suffered as a result have been devastating. Social conservatives should be able to intuitively understand this. I’ve said many times that I believe the real “privilege” in our society is not primarily racial, as progressives claim – but the blessing of growing up in a two-parent home where a mother and father love their children. This is a tremendous social advantage, and it was denied to generations of Indigenous children by the government, who felt they would be better off without the love and influence of their parents and grandparents. In her recent book Primal Screams: How the Sexual Revolution Created Identity Politics, Mary Eberstadt explored how family breakup inhibits the passing down of knowledge and skills from one generation to the next. Again, this is a key part of the puzzle that social conservatives should instinctively recognize. During university, I toured an abandoned residential school in British Columbia with several other students. Our guide was a survivor who told us about the children who had died there and the abuse they had suffered. I remember the cold, damp chill of a dark tunnel in the basement as he told us how he and others had been locked there in the blackness for using their own language. His voice was heavy with pain, and it struck me again that these things are not history – they are still memory. There are thousand of Indigenous Canadians still living with the effects of these government policies, and their anger is well-warranted. We should listen to them and remember once again the horrors that unfold when the government wields power over families for the so-called good of the children. Jonathon Van Maren is an author and pro-life activist who blogs at TheBridgehead.ca from where this is reprinted with permission. Jonathon was the guest on a recent edition of the Real Talk podcast. Photo is "All Saints Indian Residential School, Cree students at their desks with their teacher in a classroom, Lac La Ronge, March 1945" and is cropped from the original in the Library and Archives Canada collection....
Saturday Selections – July 3, 2021
Insects flying in slow motion (6 min) Kids will enjoy this cool video of 11 different bugs taking off, some elegantly, others not so much: it's great fun to see God's creativity on display! A small caution: elsewhere on his YouTube channel the videographer credits this astonishing creativity to evolution rather than God. How to preach against Critical Race Theory (10-minute read) "In this essay, I’d like to encourage pastors to oppose the errors of CRT, but I’ll suggest what might seem like an unusual approach: pastors should consider preaching against CRT without mentioning CRT at all..." How do you move a whole denomination to reaffirm biblical creation? Be inspired by how God used a grandmother to bring her denomination back to a 6-day understanding of creation. God loves LGBT people more than we do "...many professing Christians are tempted to disagree with what the Bible says about homosexuality and LGBTQ issues.....This is because many professing Christians believe they love LGBTQ people more than God does." "You still have to bake the cake, bigot!" Jack Phillips first got in trouble for not baking a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. The day he won a Supreme Court decision on that fight, a transgender guy (male, pretending to be female) called him requesting a cake to celebrate his "sex-change." As before, Phillips didn't want to help someone celebrate their own destruction (in this case, the amputation of their genitals) and so he declined. And back to the courts Phillips was forced to go. Now he's written a book, which Jonathon Van Maren reviews here. When inclusivity becomes incoherence The LGBT movement is making "an ever-growing jumble of contradictory claims about sex, gender, and psychology, all of which lacks any uniting principle other than an opposition to what came before." Conservatives in 5 years... "O’Sullivan’s First Law" states: "All organizations that are not actually right-wing will over time become left-wing.” Coined by journalist John O'Sullivan in 1989, it described the leftward tilt that we see happen among politicians, parties, and organizations of all sorts whenever they refuse to loudly and clearly establish their conservative bonafides. That same thought is captured in the video below – directed at US Republicans, it is far more broadly applicable. However, while the video is spot on, and O'Sullivan's First Law has proven itself time and again, neither goes deep enough. It is not simply a matter of being right-wing that stops liberal drift – to be rooted a group or an individual needs a firmer foundation than "conservatism." So, let me add an expansion to O'Sullivan, riffing off of Matt. 12:30. Perhaps we can call it O'Dykstra's First Law: "Those who are not unabashedly Christian, will over time – along with the organizations they make up – become unabashedly anti-Christian." God is our only firm foundation, but when we are ashamed in the public square to acknowledge Him as such, then whatever we stand on instead – whether that’s common sense, traditional values, natural law, capitalism, or conservatism – will offer only a sandy footing. It will hold only for a time, before we, unmoored, slide down the slippery slope. Let's remember it doesn't have to be that way. We serve a great God, who is sovereign and mighty and has already won. So why then would we ever be ashamed or afraid to profess His Name? ...
Saturday Selections – June 26, 2021
Motorcyclist who identified as a bicyclist sets cycling record (5 min) If the world insists feelings – and not the Father – defines reality, then...
Saturday Selections - June 19, 2021
Happy Father's Day Rapper Shai Linne pointing his father to our Father. Yes, you can prove God's existence... ....but proof doesn't always pers...
Saturday Selections – June 5, 2021
When parenting gets overwhelming (3 min) In this episode of her "Pep Talks for Moms" series, author Rachel Jankovic shares what she calls "The 20-Minute Rule" for those times when nothing is going right, and it's just all too much. 4 ways the oceans show us a young earth There's too little salt, and too little nickel in our oceans for them to be millions of years old. Helping homosexuals in "Pride Month" The San Francisco Giants will be wearing rainbow-accented uniforms this month because they are "proud to stand with the LGBTQ+ community." The children's show Blue's Clues is also joining in "Pride Month" – they recruited a drag queen to teach preschool children about pride parades, and the "a's, bi's, and pans...nonbinary...trans..." and "kings and queens" who march in them. When everyone is affirming, "standing with," and celebrating homosexuals and transexuals, God's people can seem like bigots when we speak about God's standards. So how, in this prideful month, can we best offer some clarity and show God's love to any sexually rebellious friends and family? Alan Shlemon has some tips on how not to do it here. while in the title link, Amy K. Hall shares a message she wrote to someone trying to figure out if a "Christ-centered, monogamous homosexual relationship is just as godly as a heterosexual one." China's One-Child policy is now allowing up to three The Family Research Council, a Christian think tank, hopes that: "Both the American government and Chinese government should learn this lesson and implement policies that truly support, rather than undermine, families." But is that so? Do we want the government that so overreached its role it was dictating family size, to now take on the role of supporting the family? The opposite of over-intrusive isn't to intrude in a different direction; it's to stop minding other's business. It isn't governmental support that families need, but rather an end to governmental tampering. The correct order to read the Chronicles of Narnia! Cap Stewart on why it matters... Not ashamed – a politician who openly professes the Lord "...few politicians say much today that is courageous, or even all that original. When every dissenting view, colourful remark, or provocative thought brings with it the threat of cancellation, you have to console yourself with the fiction that saying the same thing as everyone around you is a courageous feat. So when I say that Kate Forbes has done something courageous, I say it because she has done something no one around her is doing.... To pledge yourself so openly to Christ makes you sound like a bit of a freak..." Killing comedy (5 min) Seth Dillon, CEO of The Babylon Bee, explains how their critic's attempts to treat their satire as "fake news" have threatened their social media platform. ...
Government is spending over half of what Canadian families earn
Each year the Fraser Institute, an economic think tank, calculates Canada’s “Tax Freedom Day.” If the average Canadian family’s earnings were to go just towards paying the taxes they owe to all three levels of government, this is the day they’d have paid it all off. In 2021, that was May 24. This is accounting for not just your income taxes but all the taxes levied. So, also included are payroll taxes, health taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, profit taxes, “sin” taxes, fuel taxes, and the many other fees and levies the government collects. Of course, not all government revenues come from taxes – we’re also running a sizeable deficit, funded by borrowing. That’s why the Fraser Institute has also calculated a “Balanced Budget Tax Freedom Day.” This date is calculated by considering how much we’d each have to pay if the government funded all their current expenses without borrowing. Then we’d have to work all way to July 7 to pay off government expenses, and only then would we start earning for our own family. What that means is that the government is spending just over half of what Canadian families earn but they are lowering what we have to pay now by running up a debt that someone will have to pay off later. This isn’t just saddling our children with our expenses: our growing debt is already impacting us now. The Fraser Institute estimates that the interest payments we have to make, when we combine the debt from every level of government, amounted to approximately $67 billion this last year. That’s somewhere in the range of what Canada’s K-12 schooling costs. Because provincial debts vary greatly, the average “combined interest cost per person” varied greatly by province, with the low end being $1,059/person in BC, and the high being $2,604/person in Newfoundland. That’s a cost that comes each year again. This is why God talks about debt being like slavery (Prov. 22:7). The money we owe limits what we can do going forward. We could view this past year’s deficit spending as, perhaps, understandable because of the unprecedented year it was. In our own households, if we were faced with a big enough emergency, we might raid our kid’s piggy banks and borrow from them. But before we excuse the federal government for overspending in 2020, consider how much they plan to continue overspending. Our pre-pandemic federal debt was $721 billion, and the government’s own expectations have that doubling by 2026. The problem here is not a revenue shortfall, but the sheer size of our government. In 1 Samuel 8:10-22 the prophet Samuel warns of the danger of a king because he might demand ten percent – he might in arrogance demand as much as God was! Well, this past year the average Canadian family had to pay a combined, all levels of government, tax bill of 39% of their earnings. And if we eliminated government borrowing and had to pay as we go, that same average family would have to contribute 51% of their income! We should take warning from Lord Acton here, not simply that “power tends to corrupt” but, with government grown to such enormous size, that “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” ...
Saturday Selections - May 29, 2021
How to stop being addicted to your phone (4 min) This is a fun one to share and discuss with your kids, but that might not go so well if you aren't either, in control of your own phone usage, or willing to fight your own addiction. Since this is a secular take, you're going to have to bring the Christian perspective: it'll take not only willpower to beat this addiction, but repentance and submission. Repentance doesn't just involve turning away from our idol, but more importantly turning to God. So it isn't just, stop frittering away your hours with your phone; it's, start using those hours in ways that please and honor God. 3 biblical examples that disprove the Prosperity Gospel "Though a much more in-depth rebuttal is possible, these three examples from scripture provide sufficient grounds to reject the prosperity gospel..." Stand fast on the pronouns This is a Roman Catholic take, but one that accurately outlines just how far we can go in response to demands in our workplaces to call male collegues women, and vice versa. Christians are already being called haters, or transphobic, for holding to God's created order. No matter the insults, there is a line that we must not cross because to do would be to further confuse – and therefore harm – those who are already so confused. Why Noah's Ark makes no sense in an Old Earth scenario Christians who hold that the Earth is millions of years olds will refer to the Flood as being only a regional event. But if the Flood was local, then why an ark at all? Recovering the Lost Art of Reading: a review "I grew up with the blessing of books everywhere. For most of my youth I inhabited 'the dungeon' -- a basement bedroom with no windows, but a full wall of bookshelves. No, my father wasn’t an academic; he was a police officer. He’d completed high school, but didn’t go to university. Nevertheless, his many books filled my room. Even though we always had a TV in the house growing up, I was almost always reading a book. Reading wasn’t only natural, it was delightful. When I was a teenager, I spent hours and hours every week at the local library, about a 30-minute walk from our home. "I wonder what would have happened to me if I’d grown up today rather than in the 1980s. We had TV, but we didn’t have mobile phones. We had cable and a VCR, but we didn’t have Netflix. We had a Commodore 64 computer (with some pretty neat games), but we didn’t have the Internet. So many less distractions back then! It’s a wonder that any kids today still read. Reading is on the rocks – and all ages are affected." – Dr. Wes Bredenhof The man who created Settlers of Catan (4 min) This is a charming account of how Klaus Teuber came to invent this very popular game. ...
Saturday Selections - May 22, 2021
When the Pilgrims first landed, how many jobs were there? And how much work? (3 min) The answer is to these two questions are, there were no jobs, but lots of work. There were no employers to hire them, but the Pilgrims could see there was a lot they could productively set their hands to. Christian college president Ben Merkle explains that students who look to university only as a way of getting a job are missing the bigger picture - they should be looking for what work needs to be done. Two opposing types of "justice" (10-minute read) Thomas Sowell contrasts the traditional ideas of justice – where the ideal is to treat everyone equally – with "cosmic" or "social" justice, which is more concerned with equality of situations or outcomes. Sowell takes a Jordan Peterson-type role here, defending the biblical standard of justice, not really as a Christian (maybe he is one, but that's not how he is arguing here), but more as an appreciative outsider. 4 defining moments for young marriages "How newlyweds respond to these moments determines whether they stumble along separately or move forward together." Does democracy need Christianity? (5-minute read) "Democracy is not an ideology. It is a process through which a community gives expression to a vision. If our community is dazed and confused, then democracy will create chaos. "By all means Christians should engage in the democratic process but perhaps their first responsibility and their first desire should be to speak their faith loudly and clearly, live by and help many others to live by the truths and values which their faith embodies." On online privacy, Google, and you being their product You'd expect this article to be biased, as it is from a Google competitor (Duck Duck Go), but there's useful information here on why and how you would want to protect your online privacy. Free film: Does it matter what we believe about Genesis? (20 minutes) In this short film we get to see a man live out his life, from childhood all the way to his deathbed, but in three different ways: first we see him as an atheist who thinks the whole Bible is lies, second as a Christian who thinks only some of the Bible is true, and third as a Christian who understands that all of what God tells in the Bible is true and valuable. While the point here is that there is a strong connection between our beliefs – whether we follow God's truth or the world's lies – and the outcome of our lives, this isn't about earning God's blessings – this isn't the prosperity gospel. It is, instead, about taking seriously what God tells us in the Bible, and having His expressed Word be the guide for our lives. ...