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Saturday Selections – Dec. 2, 2023
Despite the best of intentions, minimum wage laws don't create wealth because they don't create jobs - they only outlaw low paying ones. As economist Thomas Sowell noted,
“Among the effects of a minimum wage law, when it is effective, is that many unskilled and inexperienced workers are priced out of a job, when employers do not find them worth what the law specifies.”
The government's best of intentions pushes people into homelessness. The moral of the story? The need for humility. It is an arrogant government that thinks it knows best what everyone's labor is worth. This isn't a minor mistake either – when the government so mangles things that they hurt the people they are trying to help, that's not an "oopsy" but a travesty. They took on the role of omniscient hero, and because they couldn't possibly measure up, they've instead become the bumbling bully.
From 2004 to 2022, the world has spent $4.1 trillion on solar and wind energy efforts. But in that same time period, while wing and solar energy output grew by 32 exajoules (EJ), hydrocarbon (oil, gas, coal, etc.) consumption grew by 110 EJ – we're relying on hydrocarbons for energy even more than we used to.
The latest climate conference started this week, and it may set a new record for participation: tens of thousands will be jetting in and spewing CO2 on their way to and fro. Regardless of whether it is 70,000 or only the same 35,000 as last time, the hypocrisy is still enormous... and revealing.
These are the same folks who make big of fossil fuels when it comes to your and mine usage. Then they talk of climate change as an "existential crisis." And if it were a threat to our very existence, then we might all agree that governments would be justified in implementing painful, costly, and even draconian measures to counter it. Whatever it takes, because there is no Planet B!
But 70,000 plane tickets? What's the CO2 count for that? Why doesn't that matter? If we're really at a crisis point, then wouldn't drastic measures be warranted at the highest levels too? Our leaders could show the way by implementing their own painful measures, holding their conference via teleconference.
But no, we're not at that level of crisis yet. We're only at the level where ordinary citizens should tighten their belts to pay more for food and heating. But we're nowhere near where our elected leaders should have to sacrifice face time.
Hypocrisy is aggravating, but more importantly it is instructive. Our leaders say there is a crisis, but their actions tells us otherwise, and actions do indeed speak louder than words (1 John 3:18, James 1:22, Titus 1:16, Luke 6:46). That's an important point to share, as Cardus notes, climate worry is one reason why women are having less children.
"Meta designed its Facebook and Instagram products to keep young users on them for longer and repeatedly coming back, the attorneys general allege." So reports, CNBC's Laura Feiner. It's worth noting, that the same could be said of any website, included ReformedPerspective.ca. Meta is, of course, way better at it, but that still wouldn't be a problem except that the content that Meta steers people to can exacerbate their problems. If, for example, you are spending too much time looking at the "beautiful people" – folks who have whole teams involved in their make-up and photography – then Meta will feed you more of it. And that can't help but shape self-perceptions, because we do become what we eat (John 6:51).
So, this is another warning to parents to be actively involved in your children's smartphone and social media usage... and that might start with reassessing our own usage.
As more and more gender-confused youth start regretting the genital mutilation and chemical castration they have done to their bodies, the pro-mutilation side is going to have to find a way to dismiss and undermine their regrets – the transmutilation lobby will figure out how to gaslight the people they've damaged. And in this column, Jonathon Van Maren highlights the lie that is coming: that folks who regret the removal of their healthy body parts don't actually regret it; they just regret living in a trans-hating society that won't celebrate their new self. In other words, people, Christians among them, who won't pretend that you can transition, are to blame.
This is just glorious - rare conditions up in Alaska set the scene for this unique opportunity to skate across a crystal clear lake.
In a Nutshell
Tidbits – December 2023
“You better watch out!” It’s nearing that time of year again, when you might hear the chorus of a familiar Bing Crosby hit. I always thought it...
Articles, Movie Reviews
Top 10 films on PureFlix right now
Pureflix is a per month subscription streaming service that provides Christian content on both sides of the US/Canadian border. While much of its cont...
Science - Creation/Evolution
Is creation worth fighting about?
Billions of years, or just six days, do we need to care? ***** Does it matter? Of all the questions in the creation vs. theistic evol...
Make it up as you go: Alfred Kinsey’s sex research
“Research” that opposes God’s law will be exposed…. eventually ***** When an immoral agenda is being advocated on the basis of “scientific” evidence, there is good reason to be suspicious. Science has a certain aura to it in Western societies, so promoting a particular view as being the “scientific” one is a clever strategy. However, sometimes the scientific veneer is just a Trojan Horse. This has been the case with some of the most influential social science of the twentieth century. Perhaps more than any other single individual, Professor Alfred C. Kinsey of Indiana University could be blamed (or credited) with the breakdown of traditional morality in the USA and other major English-speaking countries. Kinsey was a pioneer “sex researcher” who published two ground-breaking studies, one on male sexual behavior (1948) and the other on female sexual behavior (1953), which rocked the Western world and led to the liberalization of laws regulating sexual conduct in the USA and other countries. That’s a notable accomplishment for one man. During much of the twentieth century science was seen as providing the answers to many of humanity’s problems, so any perspective couched in the language of science received instant respect and credibility. Kinsey was able to take advantage of this prevailing attitude to push his own personal political agenda of sexual freedom. He correctly figured that scientific data “proving” that most people were secretly promiscuous in one way or another would provide a powerful impetus to overthrow traditional conservative views. Kinsey thus conducted his “research” in such a way that it would produce the results he wanted. Judith Reisman unmasks Kinsey Beginning in the 1980s another American researcher, Dr. Judith Reisman, began uncovering the real truth behind Kinsey’s work. She discovered the deliberately fraudulent basis of Kinsey’s influential studies and began to actively alert people to the fact that many changes in American law and culture had been initiated on the basis of this fraud. Dr. Reisman’s work is very important but she is yet to receive the attention and credit that she is due for her efforts. This work has been summarized in a small book – just 84 pages – by Susan Brinkmann, called The Kinsey Corruption: An Expose on the Most Influential “Scientist” of Our Time. There are many reasons to be outraged over Kinsey’s research, but we will touch on just two of them here. 1) He skewed his data Social science research often involves surveys of the general public. A large group of people is given a set of particular questions, then the answers to those questions are compiled and the survey results are considered to be empirical evidence regarding the issue being studied. Presumably the group of people surveyed is representative of the wider population. With this in mind it’s not too difficult for an unethical researcher to produce research that will give him the specific results he wants. If he knows beforehand that certain people are likely to give him particular answers to his questions, he can target those people for his survey so that he deliberately gets a larger proportion of them in his survey sample. Thus the results of his “scientific” study will be heavily weighted in favor of the results he wants. This is basically what Kinsey did. Kinsey’s research was based on survey data which he claimed represented the American population. But it did not represent the American population, and he knew it. His data included a disproportionately large percentage of people who engaged in sexually immoral behavior. "In an outrageous example, Kinsey classified 1,400 criminals and sex offenders as 'normal' on the grounds that such miscreants were essentially the same as other men – except that these had gotten caught." So the information about sexual behavior provided by these 1,400 degenerate men was considered to represent the sexual behavior of average American males. When it’s understood how Kinsey undertook much of his research, it’s not surprising that according to his, "skewed data, 95 per cent of the American male population regularly indulged in deviant sexual activities such as extra-marital affairs, homosexuality, pedophilia, etc.” 2) He relied on rapists’ “data” More outrageous, however, is the way Kinsey obtained data about children’s sexual behavior. In short, children were sexually abused and the abusers would then provide information to Kinsey. One of the chief sources of information about children “was later discovered to be Rex King, the serial child rapist responsible for the rapes of more than 800 children.” Kinsey in Canada Reisman’s research focuses primarily on the USA where Kinsey worked and had the most obvious impact. However, Kinsey’s influence spread throughout the English-speaking world. Here in Canada, Kinsey’s studies have been used to justify cultural and legal changes as well. In 1969 Canada’s law was changed to legalize homosexuality. In the debates over this change, Kinsey was cited as an authority. For example, in the House of Commons on January 23, 1969, one MP read from an article stating that, “Homosexuality is now known to be much more widespread than was thought in the past, as the researches of Dr. Kinsey and others have shown.” He goes on to say that, Dr. Kinsey concluded “that 37 per cent of the male population of the United States had had some homosexual experience between the beginning of adolescence and old age.” This MP then refers to Kinsey further. One of the documents cited most commonly in favor of legalizing homosexuality in Canada was the Wolfenden Report. This report was an official document produced in the 1950s for the British government recommending liberalization of laws relating to prostitution and homosexuality. In England, the recommendations on prostitution were implemented in 1959 and the recommendations for homosexuality were implemented in 1967. The Wolfenden Report was widely seen as very authoritative and it was unquestionably influential in the changes made to Canada’s law on homosexuality. In the House of Commons on January 24, 1969, one Liberal MP pointed out that the government’s proposals for legalizing homosexuality were based on the “recommendations of the Wolfenden committee.” He goes on to point out that the government’s perspective is “very close to the philosophy of the Wolfenden Report.” Throughout the Parliamentary debate, the Wolfenden Report is cited over and over again. Why is this relevant? Because Alfred Kinsey’s “research” on homosexuality was a source for the Wolfenden Report itself. The committee that produced the Wolfenden Report considered Kinsey to be an authority on homosexuality and freely referred to his work. In this respect, Kinsey indirectly influenced the change in Canadian law through his impact on the Wolfenden Report. In 1982 Canada adopted the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. However, the federal and provincial governments were given three years to bring their laws into conformity to the Charter’s provisions on equality rights before they came into effect. A Parliamentary committee on equality rights traveled the country in 1985 to get citizen feedback on how the Charter’s equality provisions should be interpreted. Numerous homosexual activists made presentations to this committee advocating their perspective. It was common during these presentations for the activists to refer to Kinsey’s research as a justification for homosexual rights. For example, during a presentation to the committee in Vancouver on May 27, 1985, an activist claimed, “Approximately 10% of the population in Canada is gay.” Subsequently, MP Svend Robinson asked the presenter, “You made reference to 10%. I assume this is based on the studies by Kinsey and a number of others.” The activist replied, “That was the Kinsey Report, the 1948 studies, yes.” Another activist testified before the committee in Winnipeg on May 30, 1985, stating that "Our individual and collective experience has provided us with every reason to think that the statistics deduced by the Kinsey Institute in the 1940s were correct: that about 10% of the population is homosexual." On that same day another activist said, “Statistically, the invisible homosexual minority makes up approximately 10% of the population of this country.” And in yet another presentation, a United Church minister remarked, “We point out that about 10% of the population, according to sociological figures, are of homosexual orientation.” The point here is that Kinsey’s studies were viewed as pertinent and relevant to the advancement of homosexual rights here in Canada. His data provided an apparent scientific authority for arguments in favor of homosexual rights. But Kinsey had deliberately skewed his research to get the kind of figures that would support the changes in law and culture that he desired. Kinsey: the movie Some liberals have been concerned about the erosion of Kinsey’s credibility that has resulted from Reisman’s efforts. A Hollywood movie (appropriately entitled Kinsey) was made in 2004 to bolster Kinsey’s reputation. It starred Liam Neeson as Kinsey himself. You won’t learn about his fraud in this movie, though. Brinkmann writes that this movie “presents the life and work of Alfred C. Kinsey in the most glowing terms. Instead of presenting the facts, it glorifies him as a persecuted hero who found himself trapped in a world of sexual repression.” Conclusion Brinkmann notes in the conclusion of her book that the “legacy of Alfred C. Kinsey’s twisted life and work can be read daily in the ever-worsening moral condition of our country.” Of course, Kinsey alone cannot be blamed for the moral decline of the Western countries, but he certainly deserves more blame than just about anybody else. Kinsey is still widely recognized as an authority on sexual behavior despite the fact that the truth has begun to come out – his research is not reliable. This provides good grounds to be suspicious of “studies” promoting various aspects of modern sexual promiscuity, whether homosexual or heterosexual. When viewed carefully, many studies purporting to support various trendy views will be found to be faulty. Most researchers aren’t unethical like Kinsey. But all researchers (whether left-wing or right-wing) are influenced by their worldview – their studies will likely confirm their preconceived views. Social science is not like physical science where you can get precise measurements that are repeatable, giving exactly the same results every time. Social science is much more subjective than that. In other words, the rule “don’t believe everything you read” should be doubly applicable whenever the media reports a new study allegedly demonstrating that monogamy among human beings is unnatural, or that homosexual couples are better parents than heterosexuals, and other such things. Sure, that’s what the study concluded. But you have good grounds for being skeptical about the study itself. These kinds of studies have been flawed or “fixed” before, so the rational response is skepticism. This was first published in the March 2015 issue....
Saturday Selections – Nov. 18, 2023
Why Jeff Bezos isn't as wealthy as you think This is not a Christian video, but in explaining why covetous plans for Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' wealth might well cause more harm than good, we see here another illustration of how God's 10th Commandment is an example of not simply His righteousness, but also His love - obeying His Law is better for us. Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Why I am now a Christian Hirsi, a former Muslim who bravely spoke out about Islam, is now calling herself a Christian. However, if the reasons she gives in this essay are the total of her profession of faith (Christ warrants one mention, and repentance none) then she may not yet be, though we can hope and pray God will continue to move her. Her profession does make a compelling practical case for Christianity. She is sharing that the world needs Christianity to be free. Problems with preferred pronouns "All we’re being asked to do is change one word. It’s a simple request. Just use a different pronoun. It might seem like a no-brainer for a believer to comply. Why cause unnecessary tension by refusing a request to be courteous?" Alan Shlemon explains why it really matters. Creationists are exploring new territory. When a fish gets trapped in a lightless cave, and its future progeny lose their eyes, creationists have noted that this was a loss of, and not a gain of, function. Or, in other words, this sort of "evolutionary evidence" didn't prove evolution at all, since, at best, it might have indicated that a man could eventually devolve into a molecule but it gave no insight into how a molecule could ever evolve into a man. Creationists are now testing whether even such a devolution might be the result of brilliant design. Could it be the result of a built-in ability to adapt to changed environmental circumstances? Creationists are setting out to answer that question... and the preliminary results are in. James Tour calls evolutionists' bluff YouTube "experts" often tout supposed advances in origin-of-life theory. But Intelligent Design proponent Dr. James Tour exposed that for the lie it is, challenging leading experts to show that they've solved any of five fundamental problems origin-of-life theory faces. And no one could. Lots of technical language in this one, but to explain by way of analogy, if scientists claimed that evolution could build a rocket to the moon, Tour is willing to pretend that evolution has indeed built the rocket and then is asking evolutionists to explain only how their theory accounts for the refined rocket fuel. And the fact they can't explain the origin of the smaller thing highlights how they certainly haven't made any progress on the more fundamental issues. Even with living things all around to offer examples and blueprints, and even with supercomputers to aid their theorizing, scientists still can't offer even the basics of how life could have come about by unguided evolution. And let's not forget that these same scientists still can't create life on purpose, even with intelligence, blueprints, supercomputers, and refined chemicals. Wind power on the grand scale envisioned is still an unproven technology Germany is one of the world's leading wind power producers, and they are having troubles. The iron law of woke projection At the risk of belaboring the joke below, I'm going to harp on how it is funny because it is true. Christians are often attacked for the very things our attackers are doing to us. "You're just trying to force your morals on everyone," says the atheist trying to force his morals on us. So, when you are attacked, don't get defensive. Recognize their attack for what it really is: an attempt to deflect from their own behavior. Point them back to God. Let them know that even if their accusations were true – even if we're horrible hypocrites – our wickedness isn't going to be any sort of defense for them before their Maker. The only "excuse" available to them is through turning to Jesus, and begging Him to cover their sins with His blood. ...
In a Nutshell
Tidbits – November 2023
Practice makes better I had a friend who makes it a point of pride not to open doors for women because. “Women are just as capable of opening doors as men.” True, but he's missed the point of this little politeness. Gifted with greater strength, men could use their power (and some brutes do) to dominate women. Proper Christian chaps in times past took a stand against this misuse and instead put their strength at women’s disposal, doing so in many different ways: helping with chairs, giving up their seat on the bus, carrying packages, holding the song book at church and, yes, opening doors for the fairer sex. It wasn’t that women were incapable – men were just practicing using their strength to help. They were engraining a habit, and modeling it to others, showing how gentle men behave. And since brutes continue to abound it’s clear that many men still need to practice and model this gentlemanly behavior. Pop Quiz Put your biblical knowledge to the test. Order the following events as they occur in the Bible beginning with “1” for the earliest and “10” for the last. Answers are at the bottom of this page. Daniel in the lions’ den Noah’s ark The giving of the Ten Commandments Elijah and the prophets of Baal Solomon building the Temple Samson and Delilah Jesus feeding the 5,000 Saul’s vision on the Damascus road Joseph and his coat of many colors The martyring of Stephen Nellie: a life worth living (27 min) “I’ll play football in heaven,” says John “Nellie” Nelson (1965-2009) who was born with arthrogryposis and couldn’t move any of his joints from his neck down. He was, nevertheless, an assistant football coach for one of the best football programs in the country. What he did with the little he was given showed these young men what living to God’s glory really meant. I first saw this at a film festival a decade back, and was delighted to discover it is now available for free on YouTube. Marital advice from the unmarried I got married later in life, and in my single days I wrote down some advice for the married me that I hoped would be. It was a few things that I, and some other singles, noticed about the very happiest of our married friends. They make it a priority to hug or kiss their spouses hello and goodbye. That mushy stuff may make the kids groan but it sure seems to keep mom and dad happy. While Dutch folk do have a tendency to tease the ones we love, happy couples are also quick to compliment their spouses (men, see Prov. 31:10-31 for a little inspiration). "Dating” is common – they find ways to regularly spend time alone together. While tonight it may have been your wife’s job to make supper, that’s no reason not to thank her for the wonderful meal! The happiest couples regularly thank each other, even for the ordinary routine work they do for one another every day. And the happiest couples grow spiritually together, not just reading the Bible together, but really studying it and praying together. A punny pastor Pastor John Barach posted this bit to his blog some years back, on pulpit exchanges: TERRY: "So when you have a pulpit exchange, you come here and our pastor goes to another church and that pastor goes to another church... It's kind of a domino effect!" ME: "No, Terry. It's the dominee effect." Fly the silly skies WestJet is a Canadian airline known for its humorous flight attendants. The following are some quips attributed to these flying funsters: "Welcome aboard West Jet Flight 245 to Calgary. To operate your seatbelt, insert the metal tab into the buckle, and pull tight. It works just like every other seatbelt; and, if you don't know how to operate one, you probably shouldn't be out in public unsupervised." "In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, masks will descend from the ceiling. Stop screaming, grab the mask, and pull it over your face. If you have a small child traveling with you, secure your mask before assisting with theirs. If you are traveling with more than one small child, pick your favorite." "Weather at our destination is 50 degrees with some broken clouds, but we'll try to have them fixed before we arrive. After a very hard landing in Edmonton, the flight attendant came on the intercom: "That was quite a bump, and I know what y'all are thinking. I'm here to tell you it wasn't the airline's fault, it wasn't the pilot's fault, it wasn't the flight attendant's fault… it was the asphalt." Quote of the month “People should know what they believe and why they believe it, and they should know what they don’t believe and why they don’t believe it.” – Dr. Glen Martin A stolen gift In June street evangelist Ray Comfort's new bicycle was stolen, so he ended up going back to the same bike store to buy the very same bike again. He has already spoken with the store owner about God the last visit, so this time he asked the man about his family, and discovered that while he had two children, and had been with their mom for 15 years, they were not married. And this is what Ray then told him: "I told him that if he loved his girlfriend he would marry her. I talked about her eternal salvation and that he was making her a fornicator. I also told him that the Bible begins with a naked couple being commanded by God to have sex, that sex is a gift from God to humanity.... Then I told him a story of a little boy whose dad had a brand new $100 bill in his wallet that he was going to give him as a gift. Not knowing that, the son snuck into his dad’s room, opened the wallet and stole the money. The $100 was going to be his anyway, but he stole it and made something bad out of something that was going to be good. I said, 'That’s what you’ve done with God’s gift of sex.'" SOURCE: Ray Comfort's Facebook post of June 10, 2014 Anagram arrangements Sometimes the exact same letters can be used to say the same thing in another way, as happens in the anagrams below. Astronomer: Moon starer The eyes: They see The Morse Code: Here come dots Slot Machines: Cash lost in me Snooze Alarms: Alas! No more Z's A decimal point: I'm a dot in place The earthquakes: That queer shake Eleven plus two: Twelve plus one Butterfly: Flutter-by Vacation Times: I'm Not as Active Source: the world wide web Dad joke of the month Two atoms are walking down a road when one says, “Oh no, I’ve lost my electron!” “Are you sure?” asks the second. “Yes,” says the first, “I’m positive!” Source: 3-2-1 Penguins – The Cheating Scales of BullaManka Unromantic… or just thrifty? Rene Gutteridge’s romance novel My Life as a Doormat has a rather creative introduction on being a romantic on the cheap: "I’m practical. Practical people can be romantics. I don’t think the two contradict each other. Sure, I cringe when an insane amount of money is spent on a dozen roses, and as I watch them die their slow deaths despite the Evian and the aspirin tablet, I can’t help but wonder what better use there was for forty dollars. Can the feeling of holding roses really match saving the starving children of the world? I simply pose the question. "I’m getting sidetracked. The fact of the matter is that I just see romance differently. I see it in defined spaces, with reason and structure attached. Romance doesn’t necessarily need spontaneity either. Scheduled romance is certainly a viable option for busy people. There’s no reason why a bottle of wine can’t be sought out days ahead of time, why a horse-drawn carriage can’t be ridden in the off-season to save ten dollars. Practicality is a simple frame of mind that in all honesty offers more perks and functionality than such frivolousness." Bringing the Greek fire! “Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.” – attributed to Plato Answers for "Pop Quiz" The correct order of events is 2, 9, 3, 6, 5, 4, 1, 7, 10, 8 or Noah’s ark Joseph and his coat of many colors The giving of the Ten Commandments Samson and Delilah Solomon building the Temple Elijah and the prophets of Baal Daniel in the lions’ den Jesus feeding the 5,000 The martyring of Stephen Saul’s vision on the Damascus road ...
Different is good! God created male and female
God created males and females to be very different from each other. That’s obvious to us as Christians and to most other clear-thinking people. But to leftwing ideologues who see any recognition of difference as “inequality,” accepting such difference is a form of heresy. For example, many feminists consider any difference between males and females to be the result of “social conditioning” – the two genders are only different, they say, because our “patriarchal” society imposes differing expectations on boys and girls. And once the government and its education system have properly imposed “equality” on society, then the differences between men and women will disappear. Leonard Sax In recent years, that ideological perspective has been thoroughly refuted by scientific studies of the human body. Many of these studies and their implications are summarized by psychologist and medical doctor Leonard Sax in the book Why Gender Matters: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know about the Emerging Science of Sex Differences. Sax is not coming to this issue from any sort of Christian or social conservative perspective. He is not opposed to homosexual behavior, and as a medical doctor he prescribes birth control to sixteen-year-old girls without their parents’ knowledge. In other words, he is not a believer, or a conservative as such. He is simply frustrated by the harmful effects of leftwing ideology on children. When Sax was trained at university, most professors accepted the ideological view that male and female differences are socially conditioned rather than being natural and intrinsic. He refers to this view as "the dogma of 'social constructionism,' the belief that differences between girls and boys derive exclusively from social expectations with no input from biology." Attention Deficit Disorder? After practicing medicine for a few years, he suddenly saw a huge increase in the number of grade 2 and 3 boys being sent to him with notes from their teachers saying they have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and needed medication. This glut of supposedly ADD boys alerted Sax to the fact that something was wrong. As it turns out, it wasn’t that the boys were ill or needed medication. It turned out that boys have a different sort of learning style than girls, and that the current method of teaching in many schools favors the female learning style. When boys have a hard time paying attention in class they are diagnosed as having ADD and given drugs to cope with that “problem.” But in most cases these boys don’t actually have a problem. They’re just not being taught the way boys need to be taught. As Sax summarizes the situation, “The failure to recognize and respect sex differences in child development has done substantial harm over the past thirty years.” The brains of male and female humans have significant differences, especially during infancy and childhood. These differences affect the way children learn and thus are relevant when considering how they should be educated. Girls draw nouns, boys draw verbs Take the eye, for example. Baby girls are naturally interested in looking at faces while baby boys are more interested in looking at moving objects. According to Sax, “The reason for that difference has to do with sex differences in the anatomy of the eye.” The anatomy of the eye is different for males and females. It is impossible for the differences to be the result of social conditioning. And these differences are significant. Sax says that, "We’re not talking about small differences between the sexes, with lots of overlap. We’re talking about large differences between the sexes, with no overlap at all." Such biological differences between boys and girls are reflected in a number of ways. For example, when boys and girls are given paper and crayons to draw with, the difference reflects itself in the kinds of pictures that result. Boys tend to portray movement and action more than girls. “Psychologist Donna Tuman summarizes the difference this way: girls draw nouns, boys draw verbs.” Toys In feminist ideology, boys and girls play with different kinds of toys because their parents give them the kinds of toys they are expected to play with. Boys get “boy toys” like balls, trains, and cars, while girls get “girl toys” like dolls, and baby carriages. The feminists argue that if the boys were given girl toys, and the girls given boy toys, the children would turn out differently – the boys would express more femininity in their play and the girls would express more masculinity in their play. But the actual research done on children as young as nine-months-old demonstrates that boys naturally gravitate to boy toys and girls to girl toys. Their respective interest in those kinds of toys is natural, not the result of social conditioning. The feminists are wrong again. This is how Sax summarizes the overall situation: "Girls and boys play differently. They learn differently. They fight differently. They see the world differently. They hear differently. When I started graduate school in 1980, most psychologists were insisting that those differences came about because parents raised girls and boys in different ways. Today we know that the truth is the other way around: parents raise girls and boys differently because girls and boys are so different from birth. Girls and boys behave differently because their brains are wired differently." This is a point that bears repeating: “The bottom line is that the brain is just organized differently in females and males.” And the organization of the brain is not something that can be conditioned by a “patriarchal” society. Danger and violence Sax discusses a number of other ways that boys and girls differ. One of the most interesting is their reaction to danger. Generally speaking, when a girl is confronted by danger she feels fearful. But in many cases a boy confronted with the same danger will experience a thrill. Boys often seek out dangerous activities for fun. This is less common in girls. Sax notes that, “Studies in the United States and around the world universally find that boys are more likely to engage in physically risky activities.” Boys often get enjoyment from activities that most girls want to avoid. Boys are also less adverse to violence than girls. Much like the situation with danger, “many young boys get a thrill from violent or quasi-violent confrontation. Most young girls don’t.” This fact has educational implications because it affects the kind of literature that will interest most boys: "Boys as young as two years of age, given a choice between violent fairy tales and warm and fuzzy fairy tales, usually choose the violent stories. Girls as young as two years of age consistently choose the warm and fuzzy stories." Discipline and spanking Sax has a long discussion on how girls and boys need different kinds of discipline. In his view, boys tend to need strict authoritarian discipline, which includes spanking. However, he does not believe girls respond positively to spanking and advises parents not to spank girls. This differs from the Christian view since girls are not exempt from spanking in the Bible. However, because he does recommend spanking for boys, he spends some time defending spanking as a legitimate form of discipline. He refutes the argument that spanking leads to child abuse saying, "Parents who love their young son and spank him only occasionally when he does something really outrageous are at no more risk of becoming child abusers than are parents who never spank." He also points out that some countries have outlawed spanking and doing so has not decreased child abuse at all. "Sweden, for example, passed a law in 1979 making it illegal for parents to spank their children. But a Swedish government study conducted in 1995 showed a fourfold increase in child abuse in the years following passage of the law. Of course, that doesn’t mean that the law somehow caused an increase in child abuse. But it certainly provides no support for the theory that outlawing spanking will decrease child abuse." Sax makes another very valuable point. Children have not changed in the last few decades. They still misbehave. How is that misbehavior dealt with? In the “olden days” children were spanked. Now, rather than receiving a spanking, “these kids are instead being put on calming behavior-modifying drugs such as Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta, and Metadate.” Sax points out the hypocrisy of this current state of affairs: “In a bizarre turn of events, it’s become politically incorrect to spank your child, but it’s okay to drug him.” This situation is tied to a larger philosophical change. As Sax describes it, "Fifty years ago, bad behavior was considered a disciplinary problem. If you misbehaved, you needed to be punished. Today bad behavior is more often considered a psychiatric problem. Kids who misbehave are referred to a specialist for a diagnosis – and for treatment, often with medication." Spanking and human nature There is an important aspect to the debate over spanking that Sax understands much better than most people. At the root of this dispute is a difference over human nature. Are humans naturally sinful or naturally good? If children are born sinful, then it stands to reason that force will be needed to direct them into positive behavior patterns. But if children are naturally good rather than sinful, then corporal punishment is never necessary. Other forms of correction are assumed to be superior and preferable. If children are born good, as the currently dominant worldview believes, then bad behavior must be the result of bad parenting, poor nutrition, ADD, violent entertainment, or something like that. Spanking can’t solve any of those problems because they’re not the children’s fault. Instead, the children need some sort of medical treatment to deal with their misbehavior. But as Christians we know that children are born with sinful natures. They are not born good. Thus spanking will always be needed as a form of discipline for children. The current effort to criminalize spanking is a direct attack on the Christian doctrine of original sin. The opponents of spanking do not believe in original sin and therefore reject its implications for child discipline. Instead, they want to impose their preferred methods of child-raising (based on the assumed natural goodness of children) through government coercion. Conclusion Sax summarizes his message this way: "Human nature is gendered to the core. Work with your child’s nature, work with your child’s innate gender-based propensities, rather than trying to reshape them according to the dictates of late-twentieth-century political correctness." Recognizing these gender differences and taking them into account in child-raising and education is best for everyone involved, especially the children themselves. The idea that gender differences are instilled by a patriarchal society, and can be eliminated by imposing an egalitarian society, is simply a feminist ideological fantasy. It has no basis in reality. And the efforts that are taken to enforce this fantasy are harmful to the children who become its victims. God deliberately made males and females to be very different from each other. As the French say, vive la difference! This was first published in the September 2015 issue under the title "Different is good! God created males and females to be very different"....
Saturday Selections – Nov. 11, 2023
How to help your kids establish Bible reading habits Dr. David Murray with help for parents in setting their family priorities... Your job is no...
Saturday Selections - Nov. 4, 2023
Click on the titles below for the linked articles... One reason rent is high Rent control involves the government deciding for apartment building ow...
Amazing stories from times past
The Parable of Ryker and Samwell
“As water reflects the face, so one’s heart reflects the man.” Prov. 27:1 ***** Luke rightly says that out of the abundance of the heart the m...
Saturday Selections – Oct. 28, 2023
Should Christian participate in Halloween? (2 min) A very short take, offered for your consideration... Economics for beginners: 5 articles to get you started Economics is the science of human action, and if you want to get a good introduction to it, the Institute for Faith, Works & Economics has 5 articles to suggest. Why I no longer use Transgender pronouns... and why you shouldn't either Former lesbian (and English professor) Rosaria Butterfield weighs in... More studies show the harm of recreational marijuana use Marijuana use comes with high costs, whether it's emergency room visits for pregnant mothers, children born prematurely, or mental health issues among young men. Comets show how secular science is assumptions built on assumptions Comets melt each time they pass by our Sun. So if they were to do so for millions of years, then they'd all be gone by now, right? And yet Halley's Comet is still scheduled for a 2061 return, and others keep flying by as well. So what's up? Might comets still being around be evidence of a universe that is very young rather than millions of years old? No, say secular scientists, certainly not! They instead see comets as evidence of a cloud of icy objects – the Oort Cloud – far beyond the outskirts of the solar system that hasn't actually been observed, but must be there, because, well, we need something to explain why we still get comets. The idea is that every now and again the icy chunks way out there bump into each other and send a new comet flying inward toward the sun. But not only is the Oort Cloud theoretical, so too is the way the ice chunks form. Two snowballs thrown at each other don't generally cohere into one – as this article explores, what we see is disintegration, not formation. Which leaves us wondering once again, how do we still have comets? Building an alternative economy Don't share your pronouns? Won't apologize for your privilege? Aren't putting a pride flag on your desk for the month of June? Can't work on Sunday? Then maybe you aren't welcome at this company anymore! As mainstream businesses bow to the idol of wokeness, some Christians are trying to create an alternative economy where Christians can buy from, or work at, companies that aren't spending their Monday morning team meetings trying to figure out how best to shake their fist at God throughout the upcoming week. The commercial below is brilliant and funny and tears down the idols of woke culture, but it's worth asking, what do we replace it all with? At just a minute long, it doesn't have time for anything more than idol toppling, so we can be thankful for what the folks at Red Balloon accomplish here, even as we recognize the need to pick up the baton and carry it forward. More does need to be done – the Church needs to present the alternative to the false gods: our Lord, and His Truth, proudly proclaimed as such. Christians have gotten really good at blowing up the other side's hypocrisy, and we've gotten a lot of help even from non-Christians like Ben Shapiro and Jordan Peterson, and sometimes from the most unlikely of allies like J.K. Rowling and atheist Richard Dawkins, who've both taken on transgenderism. However, there is a problem with just dismantling the other side's arguments and leaving it at that. If we're not proposing Christianity as the solution, we are acting – whether we mean to or not – as if there is some other choice that could be made. We've become very good at exposing the idiot ideas of the Left for the unworkable nonsense that they are. But by not proudly and loudly sharing God's better way, we are actually acting as if it must be unworkable too... or why else wouldn't we share it? In our reluctance, in our silence, in our embarrassment, we are implicitly arguing for some middle ground, some neutral place, that is neither crazy nor Christian. But the choice has always been between Christ and chaos (Matt. 12:30, James 4:4). Isn't that plain enough to us by now? As the great Will Rogers once said, "You can't beat something with nothing." Yet God's people seem to keep trying. It's time we shared the good news with the world that there really is an alternative to the craziness. They need Jesus. And they need to hear about Him from us (Romans 10:14-15). ...
Preparing to inherit the earth
Does slow and steady growth have Christianity primed to take over the West? **** First published in the November 2013 issue. Current events make it appear that Christianity is on a downward slide in North America, as well as all the other Western countries. But are appearances deceiving? This is the surprising conclusion of a book by University of London politics professor Eric Kaufmann in his book Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth? His answer to that question is “yes.” He's come to this conclusion despite being a liberal who doesn't like what he sees. Kaufmann has carefully studied demographic trends and thinks the coming increase in the influence of Christianity in North America (and other religions in different regions) basically amounts to a return to the Dark Ages. He wrote this book to warn fellow liberals that the sky is falling. Despite the dramatic gains for secularization over the last four or five decades, those gains are about to be lost. Kaufmann summarizes his thesis thusly: “this book argues that religious fundamentalists are on course to take over the world through demography.” Demographic direction What’s going on here? Well, to make a long story short, secular people don’t like having large families. Many don’t have any children at all. As a result, for many years, most Western countries have had below-replacement birth rates. That is, the average number of children born to each child-bearing-age woman is below 2.1, the number necessary to keep the population stable. This is the result of what demographers are calling the “second demographic transition” (SDT). (The first demographic transition occurred decades earlier when urbanization and the improvement in medical care decreased infant mortality and led to a decline in the fertility rate.) The SDT is a result of the 1960s sexual revolution and the rise of feminism, when the values of many people in the Western countries changed. Individualism became much more important and the ideal of getting married and raising children was severely diminished. As a result, the desire for many people to have a traditional family has declined dramatically. There are fewer marriages, more divorces; fewer children, more abortions – you get the picture. The bottom line is that most women are having fewer (if any) children. Relatively robust This trend is affecting conservative Christian families to a certain degree as well. The average Christian family is having fewer children than in previous generations. However – and this is a big “however” – the fertility rate of secularist women fell much further than the fertility rate of conservative Christian women. Christian women still have a relatively robust fertility rate. For example, one 2002 study placed the fertility rate of evangelical Protestant women at 2.5 compared to 1.5 for women without religion. Thus the proportion of conservative Christians in the United States relative to the secularists is growing through the natural increase of child-bearing. There is no reason to believe that this trend will stop, and the long-term consequences are enormous. According to Kaufmann, the influence of conservative Christians will increase: "After 2020, their demographic weight will begin to tip the balance in the culture wars towards the conservative side, ramping up pressure on hot-button issues such as abortion." Kaufmann refers to the population growth of conservative religious people as “demographically turbo-charged piety.” Demographic change, then and now Interestingly, there’s a precursor in history to a rise in Christian influence through demographic growth. Some scholars believe that the success of Christianity during its first two to three hundred years was partially the result of demographic factors. Christianity had a more family-centered ethos than paganism and therefore attracted a disproportionate number of female converts. Thus the Christians likely had a higher fertility rate than the pagans. Christians also cared for their sick during plagues, so they had a lower morality rate. "Higher fertility, lower mortality and a female skew in the childbearing age ranges endowed Christians with a significant demographic advantage over pagans." In addition to evangelism, this contributed to the rapid growth of Christianity in the Roman Empire before Emperor Constantine became a Christian himself. Demographic change takes time, so the results don’t become evident immediately. Nevertheless, it will ultimately have a large impact. For example, the so-called “mainline” Protestant churches which abandoned the Bible decades ago are part of the secularist trend. This contrasts sharply with the conservative Protestants who still uphold the Bible as the Word of God. Kaufmann notes the effect on demography: "Between 1960 and 2000, liberal Protestant denominations saw their share of the American religious market cut in half from 16 to 8 per cent, while conservative Protestants doubled in size from 7 to 16 per cent." Although not as pronounced as in North America, the higher fertility of conservative Protestants in two European countries is notable. According to Kaufmann, "In Europe, the roughly 100,000 Conservative Laestadian Lutherans of Finland and more than 1 million Dutch Orthodox Calvinists have both bucked secularizing trends. These high fertility endogenous growth sects are starting to make an impact: there are now more Orthodox Calvinist church attenders than those of its liberal parent, the Dutch Reformed Church, whose parishioners once outnumbered them six to one." In various regions of the world conservative religious believers have a higher fertility rate than secular-minded people. Thus Kaufmann discusses the high fertility rates of Muslims in the Arab world and parts of Europe, as well as the high fertility rate of Orthodox Jews in Israel. So the complete picture offered in his book is not all good news for Christianity. But for North America, certain regions of Europe (and hopefully places like Australia and New Zealand), conservative Christianity has the upper hand demographically. Ideas have consequences In obedience to God, Biblical Christianity strengthens the family, encourages married couples to have children, forbids abortion and frowns on divorce. This leads to high fertility and the growth of the church over time. In contrast, the modern secularist mindset emphasizes individualism: focus on yourself, not others. Having children will tie you down, especially if you are a woman, and prevent you from reaching your potential. You could be the president of a corporation or a high-flying lawyer – but only if you don’t have children. People who believe this way will not leave many descendants – they and their ideology have a barren future. It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that the proportion of conservative Christians in North America will grow relative to secularists. Ideas have consequences, and since the secularists (generally speaking) emphasize their own personal and individual ease and happiness, having children won’t be an important part of their lives. Thus they are beginning to lose the demographic race with conservative Christianity. Because of these demographic trends Kaufmann laments, “In effect, secularism must run to stand still and sprint in order to succeed. In America, as in the world, it looks destined to fail in the long term." Even more to the point, due to its emphasis on individualism at the expense of having children, “Secular liberalism lies hoist on its own petard.” Conclusion The pervasiveness of pornography, the legalization of abortion, the invention of no-fault divorce and gay marriage, and the spread of euthanasia, are just a few of the events that might make it seem as if Christianity is on the wane in the West. But the day-to-day faithfulness of conservative Christians in their families, bearing and raising children, is the tortoise that will win the race against the child-avoiding secularist hare. There’s a common saying that “demography is destiny.” That might be somewhat overstated, but the basic point is sound: significant change in the size and structure of populations determines the future of nations. With this in mind, current fertility rates give conservative Christians in North America a reason to be optimistic for the long-term future....
Pro-life - Abortion, RPTV
RPTV: Katrina Marshall on being a pro-life advocate
TRANSCRIPT Welcome to Reformed Perspective, I'm Alexandra Ellison. Today we bring an inspiring video of a young woman who has been working to make a difference in the pro-life movement. Her journey has taken her to the heart of Canada’s capital, Ottawa, where pivotal decisions about the sanctity of human life are made. Through dedication and passion, she has been working tirelessly to reshape the way people view the value of every human life. Join us to learn more about her challenges and her commitment to a cause that has the power to change lives. Katrina Marshall: "I'm Katrina Marshall. I wanted to be in Ottawa. I was connected with a church here, sort of online during COVID, before I was actually in the city. And it's not too far away from my parents in Kingston." Marshall got involved in the pro-life movement after an internship with the Canadian Center for Bioethical Reform (CCBR), an educational human rights organization dedicated to making abortion unthinkable in Canada. Katrina Marshall: "I actually heard about the CCBR internship from an ARPA Canada newsletter – my brother shared the ad with me and I applied to their four-month internship March of last year, and I could not go back from that experience. So it's been kind of life-changing." As part of the internship Marshall spent the past two summers traveling around western Canada educating people about the truth of abortion. Katrina Marshall: "Basically we spend most of it doing pro-life street outreach and various projects. We do what we call 'Choice Chain' which is basically a public protest. We use abortion victim photography in all our projects, and we do things like door-knocking, and we do flyer delivery known as postcarding. So we are witnessing to a world that is often very pro-choice in our society, and we have conversations with people. Sometimes we'll just display the photos so that everyone knows what abortion actually looks like, and it's incredible. It's very hard work to do it all day, every day, but it's so rewarding. "It's hard to summarize, but you live for those conversations where they do end up changing their mind. They often end up sharing a lot, even a person, male or female, starts out completely supporting abortion, often by the end of the conversation, they will completely reject abortion in all circumstances, including the hard ones. So when that happens, it's almost hard to believe, because it's such a controversial topic. And often we see a lot of people who are really set in their ways, and who don't want to give us an inch. So when someone changes their mind it kind of just makes your day, sometimes even makes your week, depending on how it goes. But it's also definitely something that we get a lot of hate for, as you can probably guess. So we get a lot of verbal abuse, and things like that, but it is really worth it for the positive moments." Marshall spoke about the process of what having on-the-street conversations is like. Katrina Marshall: "Everyone is coming from a different place. So we always just try and ask them what they think about abortion, get their viewpoint. Often they'll bring up a hard circumstance where they think it is justified. Some people support abortion for any reason; some – in fact many, mostly – for limited reasons. So we always want to speak into that, into the specific situations they're discussing, and the issues they're raising. Not only that, but find out where their ideas are coming from, where that opinion was formed, and what's going on in their life, to really have compassion for them, and not just for the babies (as we are often accused of). "So if someone said they supported abortion for most situations, but not for casual encounters which they deem is irresponsible, I would ask them to consider a toddler in that same situation. If someone brought up the case of poverty, I would ask them if they would tell a mother who is in poverty, a mother of a 2-year-old, if she could kill that child to solve that problem. People are often taken aback: 'Of course not; of course we can't do that!' We use this common ground especially to begin. Then we use that analogy with the toddler and question, 'If we can't harm born humans, then why can we ever harm the same humans a few months earlier?'" Changing the general public's mind about abortion can be a path toward succeeding in political legislation. Katrina Marshall: "A lot of people have asked me why I do this specifically, and my answer is that there are so many people, especially pro-lifers, who don't recognize the value of educating the public on the issue of abortion, and how that plays into other arms of the pro-life movement, such as the political arm, or the pastoral crisis arm. If the public doesn't see that abortion is wrong then these other arms will not succeed. I see a large gap in the educational arm of the movement. What better way to save babies than to to talk with people who don't think that abortion is wrong at all, and in fact it's often celebrated." As a Christian, Marshall says that she can educate others about abortion as much as possible but at the end of the day it is Jesus Christ who saves lives. Katrina Marshall: "You can't change everyone's mind. When you realize what abortion is, how children are being starved to death, and ripped apart, and no one loves them, it's hard to recognize that sometimes you're the only one that will stand up for them. You're the only one that will love them, and honor their legacy, and it's hard to recognize that only God can change minds and only He can save lives in this work and you have to surrender that to Him." For Reformed Perspective, I'm Alexandra Ellison in Ottawa....
In a Nutshell
Tidbits - October 2023
Halloween in a small American town I live in a delightful and occasionally comical small town where the church-attending Christians make up a solid majority of the population. This is such a Christian town that when Halloween comes around, one of the local churches will set up a hot chocolate stand for our area, and you'll see a dad or two dressed up as a monkish Martin Luther, tonsure and all. When I first moved here Halloween fell on a Sunday, and I was impressed to see most of the kids did their trick-or-treating on Saturday instead. Then I was quite surprised when one of the trick-or-treaters at my door – a little princess – told me "my brother is the devil." Sure enough, there he came toddling up the path, a two-year-old dressed in a bright red satin, forked tail wagging behind. Lynden: it's a town where trick or treating on Sunday is verboten, but dressing up as Satan ain't no big thing. “The free market is a bathroom scale” “The free market is simply a measurement. The free market tells us what people are willing to pay for a given thing at a given moment. That’s all the free market does. The free market is a bathroom scale. We may not like what we see when we step on the bathroom scale, but we can’t pass a law making ourselves weigh 165. Liberals and leftists think we can.” – P.J O’Rourke Are you wearing anything ten years or older? About ten years back, Christian Courier's editor Angela Bick shared that her friends were surprised to learn that they weren’t wearing anything as much as ten years old. The surprise was probably prompted by the realization that 40 years ago the situation would have been quite different. Kids’ clothing in particular was treated differently then, with patches (and patches upon patches) being far more common. Darning socks was more common, and the resoling of shoes too. Whenever one generation decides to do something differently than the previous, it is worth a moment’s reflection - if you aren’t wearing anything from a decade ago, why might that be? Is it a result of shoddy manufacturing and living in a throw-away culture? Are clothes simply not made to last like they once were? Are we financially blessed, to the point that we don’t need to wear worn out clothes? Are we financially irresponsible, spending money on clothes when that money could be put to better use? Is it a matter of clothes being less expensive to replace than they once were? Might it mean we are overly concerned with keeping up with the latest fashions? The way it was… and could be? In the 1940s, in the Netherlands, most men worked six days a week at physically-taxing jobs. So, come Sunday it could be quite a struggle for these men to stay attentive through the church service, especially when it came time to pray and eyes were shut and heads were bowed. And to make it harder still, the prayers were quite often fifteen minutes long. In his wartime biography The Way It Was, author Sid Baron notes that to help these men stay awake it was the practice then to allow the option of standing during prayer. So throughout the church, as most bowed their head to pray, many farmers and laborers would rise. This practice is no longer common anywhere in Reformed churches, most likely because ministers no longer tax their congregation’s attention with fifteen-minute prayers, and because far fewer members do heavy physical labor. Still, it might be a practice worth reviving for some particularly sleep-deprived folk: the mothers and fathers of newborns! Brother, can you spare a dime? by Gregory Koukl You can't help having mixed feelings when people beg for food on the street. Your heart goes out to them, but you have reservations too. Is there a real need here, or is this just laziness disguised? Here's a simple solution. Give food to the poor by helping fill the cupboards of your local church feeding program. If your church doesn't have one, find a Christian facility that does. They make sure food goes to people with a genuine need, and the Gospel goes out along with it. Another alternative is to make up a couple of bags of food and keep them in your trunk. Include the kinds of things that can be opened without tools and eaten without cooking. Include plastic silverware that's sealed together with a napkin that you get from take-out food places. Then give it in Jesus' name. Welfare is not God's answer to the needs of the poor. Instead, He asks for charitable, responsible, obedient giving. Don't give money to someone begging in the street. Instead, send your money to a reputable Christian agency in your area, or give food in prepackaged parcels. You'll have the peaceful confidence you've really done something for the poor and homeless. SOURCE: Reprinted with permission from www.str.org Biblical, musical ABCs Jamie Soles is well known among conservative Reformed churches in Canada, but for those that don’t know of him, below are the lyrics of a song from one of his children’s albums “The Way My Story Goes” which is available (along with more info) on the artist’s website SolMusic.ca. “These Are They” Jesus said, “You search the Scriptures For in these, you say, your life will never end, Don’t be misled; the life you’re looking for Is found in Me, for I am found in them. And… "These are they, these are they, These are they which speak of Me.” Adam, Abel, Abraham, Aaron, Ammon, Amnon, Andrew, Abishai, Abishag, Abigail, Ahab, tell the world of Me. Ahaziah, Amaziah, Ahimaaz, Ahasuerus, Ahithophel, Abiathar, Ahitub, too, Asahel and Absalom, Abner and Abednego, Asa and Amasa, just to name a few. Now… These are they.... Boaz, Balaam, Barzillai, Balak, Barak, Baal, Babel, Baasha, Baruch, Benjamin, all tell the world of Me. Barnabas and Bethel, Bezalel and Bilhah, Benaiah, Belial, and Bashan, too, Bethlehem and Ben-Hadad, Beelzebub and Babylon, The Bible bubbles over with Me; how ‘bout you? Now… These are they.... Caesar, Caleb, Caiaphas, Canaan, Cain, and Chedorlaomer, Cushi, Chloe, Claudius, all tell the world of Me. Corinthians, Cyrenians, Cyrus and the Cretans, Cornelius, Capernaum, and Chimham, see? These are only part of it This is but the start of it Stories are your biblical ABCs! Now… All these stories, they show My glories These are they which speak of Me. Top 10 verses: important omission BibleGateway.com is a website that includes dozens of different translations of the Bible. It gets more than 8 million visitors each month, and back in 2011. when they listed their site’s most-searched for verses of the Bible, Collin Hansen at TheGospelCoalition.org noticed a startling omission among them. While the top ten includes verses that are often emblazoned on shirts, or are held up on signs at sports events (John 3:16 was the #1 verse) none of the top ten most-searched-for-verses talked about sin! It isn’t until verse #19 that sin is mentioned: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” It’s not surprising that talking about sin is unpopular. But the Good News of the Gospel only makes sense after we understand our own sinfulness, and God’s hatred of sin. Then it is good news indeed that God has sent us a Savior and Mediator! So it isn’t a surprising omission, but it is a glaring one. It should be polite to ask a woman’s age Our culture worships youth, so it’s no wonder they think it’s rude to make mention of someone’s age. But why do we think it’s rude? After all, the Bible speaks quite highly of the elderly, as it is with age that wisdom can come (at least among the righteous). That’s why Proverbs 20:29 notes that “gray hair is the splendor of the old” and Prov. 16:31 tells us: “the silver-haired head is a crown of glory.” Among Christians old should be excellent! 30% of Gen Z Americans would welcome gov’t monitoring inside their homes Nearly a third of Americans under 30 would welcome a government surveillance device in their homes, in the name of reducing spousal and child abuse. Clearly they haven’t been taught about the surveillance states of the past, like the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. And they must not know about China’s current “social credit system,” where citizens are constantly monitored and granted freedoms based on how obliging they’ve been to their government’s every requirement. And they haven’t read 1984 or any other dystopian fiction. That a third of American young people trust the government to watch their every move isn’t an endorsement of our political leadership’s trustworthiness, but is instead an indicator of how badly they are educating our youth in their public schools. Now Christians might think that if we aren’t doing anything wrong what does it matter if we are being watched? But do you spank your children? Might some government official somewhere want to recast as abuse what you know to be appropriate and measured? Do you teach your children that God made us male and female? Do you insist that marriage is between one man and one woman? What might the government think about that? To be constantly monitored is to be constantly assessed. And knowing, as we do, that our governments don’t measure right and wrong by God’s standards, we should fear the prospect....
Saturday Selections – Oct. 14, 2023
Click on the article titles below to go to the linked articles... Evidence for design: the push-pull principle Evolution is supposed to happen in sm...
Being in the room at the Conservative Convention
There’s a line from the musical Hamilton that’s been on repeat in my head: “I wanna be in the room where it happens.” That’s why I attended ...
Saturday Selections – Sept. 30, 2023
Click on the titles below to go to the linked articles. Everything has to be working just right, right from the start (2 min) For a baby to grow, all sorts of systems have to be working just right, and have to have been developed all at the same time. So how could evolution ever get over such a "hurdle"? Overcome your enemies by dying Peter Krol has a rather unexpected strategy for effective Christian engagement – he wants us to "overcome enemies by dying." "God does not ask his people to live as idiotic simpletons or punching bags. God wants his people to overcome strife and evil (Rom. 12:21). But the way you overcome it matters. To win the fight in the wrong way is to lose." Just as you can win badly, there is also a way to lose gloriously. Krol's point is that the outcomes are up to God, and the methods are up to us, so, win or lose, do so with His glory in mind. Krol also lays out five strategies on how best to do so. How to lose your pastor in 365 days There always seems to be a pastor shortage. Might it be worth asking ourselves, how do we in the pews make their job attractive or unattractive? Here are 11 ways to show some appreciation. Why we can't trust the science journals - a climate scientist explains "...a climate scientist has written that he pulled his punches in a climate-change article in order to be published by the prestigious journal Nature." Samuel Sey: Why I am not a "Christian Nationalist" If you support a Christian think tank or lobby like ARPA Canada or the Colson Center that advocates for laws that abide with God's commandments, then by the way some define the term, you are a "Christian Nationalist." But as Samuel Sey notes here, there are a lot of folks fighting for this term, bringing different definitions to it, and the way some others define it, you most certainly aren't a "Christian Nationalist." Unmasking "Christian nationalism" (90 minutes) John Stonestreet, Rusty Reno, and Hunter Baker debate the usefulness of the term "Christian nationalism" and debate also whether Christians should even be trying to bring in Christian laws. Isn't that top-down "Christianization"? That's a good point, and a reason why, in our efforts to bring in laws that align with God's commandments, we should do so as Christians, seeing the public square as just one more opportunity to glorify God. Then, when a Christian law is adopted, it won't be forced from the top down but will have been adopted because we've convinced the country that God's ways are best. This is a long listen – an hour and a half – but worth the time for the sort of discourse happening here: some disagreement but done in the spirit of digging down to the truth together. More on Christian nationalism: legislating morality (2 min) While there's reason to question the usefulness of the term "Christian nationalism," all Christians should want and pray for their nations to be governed by God's Word. While apologist Frank Turek is Arminian, in the video above he makes a good, concise point that all legislation is moral in nature. If it isn't justified as being about right and wrong, then it is simply capricious, based on the whims of whoever happens to be in charge. Is that what anyone is after? No, we want our laws based on the only real standard: God's. Where Turek gets it wrong is that he thinks this law is self-evident. There is a sense in which that is true: God tells us His law is written on our hearts (Romans 2:15). But we also know that with work and effort, we are quite capable of blinding ourselves to what is true. Shucks, we have people who believe it is all right to murder a baby so long as one foot is still inside its mother's body, or that the government should fund the mutilation of children who are confused about their gender. So, the law isn't always self-evident; it is often very much in need of proclamation. Thankfully, God has given the world His Church to do that!...
Residential schools: the lesson that’s being lost
Our government needs to stop indoctrinating children ***** As history teachers never fail to remind us, “those who don’t learn their history are doomed to repeat it.” The double meaning is most often lost on their students – that if they don’t pull up their grades, they’ll be doing History 11 next year too. But as adults, it’s the original intent of this adage that we too often overlook: that if painful lessons of the past are forgotten, then we’re going to feel that same pain again. That’s especially true when it comes to the history of Canada’s Indigenous residential school system, where one of the key lessons is being lost. As Canadians have become aware, the history of the schools is a history of sins being committed against the country’s Indigenous peoples. The sins were of two different sorts, and both have been publicly acknowledged, especially in recent years. But sadly, only one of the two is being universally rejected. 1. Ideological indoctrination INDOCTRINATION CONDEMNED: Justice Murray Sinclair, who headed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, called the residential schools, “cultural indoctrination centres.” (Picture credit: Art Babych / Shutterstock) The first sin involves the indoctrination of Indigenous children. It’s been more than a decade now since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) started traveling the country to collect testimonies about Canada’s residential schools. As a nation, we learned about how the schools had been intended to teach the children a government-approved ideology, even over the objections of their parents. When the TRC report was released in 2015, the chief justice of Canada’s Supreme Court, Beverley McLachlin, said the findings amounted to “cultural genocide.” The chair of the TRC, Justice Murray Sinclair, agreed with her assessment: "The evidence is mounting that the government did try to eliminate the culture and language of Indigenous people for well over a hundred years. And they did it by forcibly removing children from their families and placing them within institutions that were cultural indoctrination centres.” 2. Abuse It’s the second sin that’s dominated recent headlines. In May of 2021, news broke that “a mass grave filled with the remains of 215 Indigenous children, some as young as three…” had been discovered on the grounds of the Kamloops Indian Residential School. The reaction across the country was immediate: impromptu memorials appeared, and flags were lowered and kept at half-mast for the next half year. Just a few days later a bill passed unanimously in the House and Senate that declared a new statutory holiday: Sept. 30 would be the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Today, eighteen months later, it’s starting to look like this mass grave might not be a grave at all – no bodies have been unearthed. But the initial reports made headlines across the country, and around the world, and in the process brought more attention to the physical harms that had been done within the schools’ walls. The TRC had interviewed more than 6,000 former students and staff, and their testimonies included thousands of instances of molestation and all sorts of physical abuse. The Kamloops mass grave might not be real (and as Mark Penninga notes further on in this issue, it is important to find out one way or the other), but the outrage it spawned brought renewed attention to very real sins of the past. A difference REPENTING OF PAST, BUT NOT PRESENT SINS: The caption for this June 1, 2021 stock photo noted it was part of a “memorial in tribute to 215 aboriginal children whose remains found in Residential School in Kamloops.” Though the 215 graves look like they won’t turn out to be graves at all, their “discovery” in Kamloops was still a pivot point for the country. It shifted attention from the ideological indoctrination that was behind the creation of these government schools to the physical and sexual abuse that were not. To state it another way, government schools have always been about ideological indoctrination, but it’s only with the residential schools that this indoctrination has been recognized for the wicked government overreach that it is. And then with Kamloops, the nation’s attention shifted. This shift of focus has allowed the government to get away with repenting only of its past abuse, even as its schools unrepentantly continue ideological indoctrination to this day. Two sins were committed in the residential schools, but our governments are only repenting of one. They are repenting of the past abuses, even as in the present they continue to use their schools to indoctrinate another generation. It’s the unrepentant and ongoing nature of this sin that makes it the more pressing to deal with. We need to recognize, too, that the problem isn’t simply that it continues, but that it’s built right into the system. The abuse was a matter of neglect, while the indoctrination was a matter of deliberate design. As League of Canadian Reformed School Societies coordinator John Wynia noted in a recent Real Talk episode: “In residential schools, parents of First Nations children had their kids taken away from them. The idea was to assimilate them into the ideology of Western society, so that they could fit, and that has had devasting impacts on the Indigenous community. And it is recognized as a terrible thing, but it will be interesting to see whether that lesson of history is applied to the sexual orientation and gender identity movement.” Will that lesson be applied? It hasn’t been to this point. The reason the lesson is being lost is because the connections between past and present aren’t being made. In a January 5 article the National Post’s Tom Blackwell highlighted a current and devasting example of how government schools are still deciding they know better than parents what’s best for their own children: “When a student in a Calgary Grade 6 class came out as transgender this year, the teacher made one thing clear to the other pupils: they mustn’t let slip their classmate’s new gender identity to her parents. The couple was not yet aware of the change. It seemed like an odd message for a group of 11-year-olds, says the mother of one of the pupils. ‘This upset me so much,’ she says. ‘Kids were being taught to lie to parents.’” Blackwell clearly doesn’t like what’s happening. But he didn’t make the connection to what happened in the residential schools. He didn’t recognize that this is just more of the same. The lesson is even being lost on the victims. Instead of opposing today’s “cultural indoctrination centres,” Indigenous groups are trying to use government schools to present their own ideology to students. In British Columbia, for example, university education students have been required to include one of nine “First Peoples Principles of Learning” in their lesson plans. Some of the principles are pretty mundane, more Dale Carnegie or Jordan Peterson-esque than anything specifically Native. “Learning involves patience and time.” Sure. Okay. But the very first principle reads: “Learning ultimately supports the well-being of the self, the family, the community, the land, the spirits, and the ancestors.” Learning does not support the spirits and the ancestors. And pushing that on education students is a promotion of a Native spirituality, over and against Christianity. In November of last year, Canadian Reformed teachers in Western Canada came together for an “Indigenous Perspectives in Reformed Schools” conference and I was allowed to tag along. One of the speakers, Patti Victor, is a Pentecostal pastor, a member of the Stó:lō, and a First Nations advisor for Trinity Western University. I asked her what she thought about the government requiring more First Nations content in the curriculum, regardless of what parents might want. She conceded that the approach was less than ideal, but argued that sometimes less than ideal means have to be used to push forward what needs to be done. She didn’t recognize that this same sort of thinking – pushing a certain ideology even against parents’ wishes because it’s for the kids’ good – would have been a motivation for the residential schools too. She wasn’t making the connection either. Lost no more IT'S STILL HAPPENING: Sooke School District students on a public school system float in the 2019 Victoria Pride Parade. The government has never stopped using schools as cultural indoctrination centers. (Picture credit: Blake Elliot / Shutterstock) Our history teacher’s adage has proven itself true: Canada hasn’t learned from its history, so we’re doing it all again. Even when a government or First Nations leader expresses horror at how residential schools were used as “cultural indoctrination centres,” they don’t apply the lesson to what’s going on today. Of course, it’s no surprise that our governments aren’t making those connections. But what they won’t do, we can. When Sept. 30 comes again this year we can voice the lesson that’s been lost: that education is a God-given parental responsibility, and government will never be up to the task. To demonstrate the government’s inability, we can remember what happened in the residential schools, and make the connections no one else will, to the horrors going on in government schools today: the far from safe-sex that’s taught, and the gender confusion, depression, and anxiety that’s being fostered. We can explain that this is all a fruit of what the government’s schools are teaching about God. As R.C. Sproul put it: “Every education, every curriculum, has a viewpoint. That viewpoint either considers God in it or it does not. To teach children about life and the world in which they live without reference to God it to make a statement about God. It screams a statement. The message is either that there is no God or that God is irrelevant. Either way the message is the same.” For generations residential schools taught First Nations children that their parents were irrelevant. Today’s schools teach that God is irrelevant too. It all has to stop. Conclusion While “stop indoctrinating children!” is a good message, God’s people – and specifically our Reformed churches – can give the rest of our country so much more. God has gifted us with Christian schools, and while we aren’t going to open the doors to the rest of Canada, we can invite them to come take a look. They’ll need to: the government has been running its schools for so long, the average Canadian can’t even imagine how education could be done any other way. We can show them there is another way: parental schools do exist! We’ll need to invite our neighbors, friends, and community, to come see what a family and a community looks like when parents are taking up their God-given educational responsibilities. This isn’t about showing off our bricks and mortar, textbooks and curriculum. It’s about taking off the bushel and letting our light shine. Shy sorts that we are, we might not want to invite our neighbors’ scrutiny since we know we’re far from perfect. We’ll need to remember this really isn’t about us; what we’re showing off is that God’s ways are best, and how it’s only because we’re listening to Him that we have fruit to show. Our homes aren’t perfect, but they are calmer, our kids better adjusted, harder-working, less troubled, kinder and happier – they are a light! So we should invite the world to look, and tell them that it has nothing to do with us, and everything to do with our God. And, finally, we can invite our fellow Canadians to imagine what it would look like in their own families, communities, and in the country if parents everywhere took up their God-given responsibilities to shape and mold their own children. This is one of several articles we’ve published about Canada’s history with its Indigenous peoples, with the sum of the whole being even greater than the parts. That's why we'd encourage you to read the rest, available together in the March/April 2003 issue. Top picture is of a Kamloops Indian Residential School. Picture credit: ProPics Canada Media Ltd / iStockPhoto.com...
A call to action: loving our Indigenous neighbors
Chief Dan George, author and actor, pictured on the set of "Kung-Fu" in 1973. Many Canadians, Christians included, are unfamiliar with the painful history of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Chief Dan George, born in North Vancouver and former leader of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, provides a summary of this history and its impact on Indigenous peoples, and he suggests a path to healing: "My culture is like a wounded stag that has crawled away into the forest to bleed and die alone. The only thing that can truly help us is genuine love. You must truly love us, be patient with us and share with us. And we must love you with a genuine love that forgives and forgets ... a love that forgives the terrible sufferings your culture brought ours when it swept over us like a wave crashing along a beach … with a love that forgets and lifts up its head and sees in your eyes an answering look of trust and understanding."1 Chief Dan George’s words, written 50 years ago, remain relevant today and it is especially important that we, as followers of Jesus Christ, consider the extent to which we know the history he references and the extent to which we are demonstrating understanding, genuine love, and compassion to our Indigenous neighbors, as fellow image bearers of our God. Pursuing the Truth God calls us to pursue knowledge, truth, and understanding. The emphasis on knowing rightly in Scripture means pursuing biblical truth, and truth about the reality of the world as God created it, but it also includes pursuing historical truth. So, what is the truth of the Indigenous experience in Canada? What are the sufferings that Chief Dan George references? A quick survey of Canadian history will suffice to provide some of the broad strokes. Shortly after Confederation, the Canadian government looked to realize the potential of the West and to fully realize a country from “sea to sea.” One of the challenges was Indigenous land title. Government officials entered into treaties with Indigenous peoples beginning in the 1870s when they realized that they could not afford to engage in “Indian wars” as were happening in the United States. At the time, the United States was spending $20 million on its Indian Wars and Canada’s entire budget was $20 million.2 A simple economic calculation swayed the government toward pursuing treaties rather than fighting. Interestingly, Indigenous peoples recognized that education was necessary to help their communities adjust to changing economic and social circumstances. As a result, they insisted that schools, teachers, and teachers’ salaries be included in the treaties negotiated in the 1870s. The early treaties called for on-reserve schools, and from Treaty Seven (1877) onward, the treaties committed the government to pay for teachers.3 There was no mention of residential schools when these treaties were signed – rather the focus was on the establishment of schools, on the reserves, for the instruction of Indigenous children. A misguided approach The Davin Report signaled the beginning of residential schools. Nicholas Floyd Davin was appointed by the federal government to investigate the boarding school system in the United States. In 1879, he submitted his report. He concluded that Indigenous peoples should not have a voice regarding the character and management of their schools. Rather, he recommended that Indigenous children be removed from their families and communities and that the federal government partner with Canadian churches to provide Indigenous children an education off-reserve.4 Christian churches – forgetting that God gives children to parents, and not to the State or Church5 – agreed to this arrangement and supported the removal of children from their families and communities to eradicate their culture, language, and beliefs. When these schools were established, their goal of dismantling Indigenous culture, language, spiritual beliefs, and practices quickly became evident. Residential schools were seen as preferable to on-reserve day schools because they separated children from their parents, who were certain to oppose such intentions. Residential schools were, therefore, not established to meet the government’s treaty obligations to provide schools (which were supposed to be on reserves), but to further its long-term aim of ending the country’s treaty obligations by assimilating its Indigenous population. The prejudice and racism that formed the foundation of the residential school system can be seen clearly through the words of those responsible for putting this system in place. Nicholas Floyd Davin stated: "… As far as the Indian is concerned, ittle can be done with him. He can be taught to do a little farming, and stock-raising, and to dress in a more civilized manner, but that is all … Indian culture is a contradiction in terms. They are uncivilized. The aim of education is to destroy the Indian." John A. Macdonald, Prime Minister during this chapter of Canadian history, similarly commented: "When the school is on the reserve, the child lives with its parents, who are savages, and though he may learn to read and write, his habits and mode of thought are Indian. He is simply a savage who has learned to read and write." Additionally, he said: "It has been strongly impressed upon myself … that Indian children should be withdrawn as much as possible from the parental influence, and the only way to do that would be to put them in central training schools where they will acquire the habits and modes of thought of white men." Duncan Campbell Scott, former Deputy Superintendent of Indian Affairs, revealed similar views when he opined: "Indian children in the residential schools die at a much higher rate than in their villages. But this does not justify a change in the policy of this Department, which is geared towards a final solution to our Indian problem." Throughout their history, residential schools were chronically underfunded, and the quality of education provided was exceedingly low (designed to ensure that it would only prepare students for menial work). The quality of the education provided has been described as: “inappropriate education, often only up to lower grades, that focused mainly on prayer and manual labour in agriculture, light industry such as woodworking, and domestic work such as laundry work and sewing.”6 Early calls for the schools’ end Already early in the 1900s, voices were calling for an end to the schools over death rates and poor health conditions. In 1908, federal Indian Affairs minister Frank Oliver concluded that the “attempt to elevate the Indian by separating the child from his parents and educating him as a white man has turned out to be a deplorable failure.”7 Similarly, Dr. Peter Bryce, Medical Inspector to the Department of the Interior and Indian Affairs (and, incidentally, also a Presbyterian elder) was vocal about the serious failings of these schools after extensively touring them. Known as the “whistleblower of residential schools,” Bryce wrote numerous reports and newspaper articles about the exceedingly high rates of disease and death found in these schools. Duncan Campbell Scott acknowledged these grim realities – in a review of the Department of Indian Affairs’ first forty-five years he wrote that “fifty percent of the children who passed through these schools did not live to benefit from the education they had received therein”8 – but he did nothing to change course. Instead, he forced Bryce out of office, and eliminated the position of medical inspector.9 In 1925, after being forced out of office, and after being ignored by government officials at all levels for nearly two decades, Bryce published The Story of a National Crime: An appeal to justice to the Indians of Canada. However, all his protestations, over several decades, fell on deaf ears because of a government, and a Canadian public, rife with prejudice. During the 100 year history… The number of residential schools rose and fell during its 100+ year history, but the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement formally recognized the existence of 139 such schools spread across Canada. The Roman Catholic Church operated most of the schools, up to 60 percent at any one time. The Anglican Church operated 25 percent of them, the United Church operated about 15 percent, and the Presbyterian Church ran 2 or 3 percent. Over 150,000 Indigenous children were forcibly removed from their families by the RCMP between the establishment of these schools in the 1870s and the closure of the last school in the mid-1990s. While in the schools, students frequently encountered emotional, physical, sexual (schools knowingly hired convicted “child molesters”), and spiritual abuse as well as barbaric punishments (duly recorded by federal bureaucrats and officials with the churches that ran the schools) such as being shackled to one another, placed in handcuffs and leg irons, beaten with sticks and chains, and sent to solitary confinement cells for days on end.10 The Missing Children Project (formed by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate student deaths at residential schools) recorded more than 4100 deaths, including more than 500 unidentified children (although the actual number is believed to be much higher). In some residential schools, 20 to 75 percent of students died. Pneumonia, influenza, beatings, injuries from being thrown, accidents, fire, drowning, infection, freezing deaths, a fall downstairs, lack of professional medical treatment, and poor overall health were among the many ways that students died.11 Students in front of the Metlakatla Indian Residential School, B.C., date unknown. (Picture credit: William James Topley. Library and Archives Canada, C-015037 / Flickr.com under a CC BY 2.0 license.) That is the truth of the Indigenous experience in Canada. Waves of suffering have swept over their communities – sadly, often at the hands of those who professed to follow Jesus Christ. The removal, by force, of Indigenous children from their homes to impose the Christian faith and eradicate their culture, language, and spiritual beliefs was a grievous evil masquerading as righteousness. The effects are still being felt today due to the resulting disintegration of families and communities. Successive generations of Indigenous children passed through these schools such that: "The impacts began to cascade through generations, as former students – damaged by emotional neglect and often by abuse in the schools – themselves became parents. Family and individual dysfunction grew, until eventually, the legacy of the schools became joblessness, poverty, family violence, drug and alcohol abuse, family breakdown, sexual abuse, prostitution, homelessness, high rates of imprisonment, and early death."12 As Jonathan Van Maren notes, one can only imagine how Dutch-Canadian communities, for example, would react to the same intrusion on parental and religious rights. He comments, " 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. 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 child 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."13 It is indeed worth reflecting on. And it is also worth reflecting on how you would feel about Christian churches if you’d known that they were an integral part of the establishment, and operation, of these schools. Additionally, it’s worth reflecting on whether religious and parental rights exist for everyone. If we, as Christians, insist on our religious and parental rights should we not protect those same rights for others? While some Indigenous people reported having positive experiences in these schools, the premise of these schools was seriously misguided and the evidence of the damaging effects of these schools is overwhelming. And it is important to note that this history is recent with many survivors of these schools still alive today. Functioning as ambassadors of Jesus Christ This begs the question: How should we respond as followers of Jesus Christ to these historical events and to the effects they have had on Indigenous people to the present day? As mentioned earlier, we first need to be knowledgeable about the history of Indigenous people in Canada. As followers of Jesus Christ, we cannot be content with holding opinions based on a lack of awareness. One of the ways we can pursue the truth is by educating ourselves and by listening, with humility and compassion, to the stories and experiences of Indigenous people. We should invite them into our homes, our schools, and our churches. We should build bridges of knowledge, understanding, and love with our Indigenous neighbors. In addition, we need to consider how we should function as ambassadors of Jesus Christ to a people who have experienced much injustice, prejudice, and racism. Augustine once commented that a Christian is a mind through which Christ thinks, a heart through which Christ loves, a voice through which Christ speaks, and a hand through which Christ helps. We do well to consider how we are exhibiting the mind, voice, heart, and hands of Jesus Christ to our Indigenous neighbors. Do they find us to be compassionate, full of grace, lovers of truth and justice or do they find in us a prideful and judgmental attitude and a lack of desire for justice and truth? As we read in Micah 6:8: “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” God is clear about the premium He places on the dignity and worth of every human being (whom He made in His Image) and the priority He places on justice and compassion. Finally, this chapter of history provides an opportunity to reflect on how the gospel message should be spread. In the case of residential schools, the gospel was spread through force, by contravening parental and religious rights, and was imposed upon Indigenous people. But we must remember that God’s Word should never be imposed; rather, it should be proposed. As Chuck Colson once stated, " seen as wanting to impose our views on people. Don’t let them tell you that. We don’t impose anything; we propose. We propose an invitation to the wedding feast, to come to a better way of living. A better way of life. It’s a great proposal."14 Ambassadors of Jesus Christ need to ensure that their witness draws others in to know more about Him who loves truth, justice, mercy, gentleness, compassion, and kindness. Much brokenness remains in Indigenous communities and Christians need to be part of the healing by truly exemplifying the love of Jesus Christ. This is one of several articles we’ve published about Canada’s history with its Indigenous peoples, with the sum of the whole being even greater than the parts. That's why we'd encourage you to read the rest, available together in the March/April 2003 issue. Dr. Mark W. Slomp is a Fellow with the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. He is a Registered Psychologist and holds a senior leadership role in a Canadian post-secondary university. He is also the founder of “XP Counselling, Speaking & Writing” focused on the promotion of the flourishing life in Jesus Christ. He can be reached at [email protected] for inquiries about speaking, counseling (career and personal), and writing. Endnotes 1) North Shore News. (2019). “From the archives: Chief Dan George teaches understanding.” Retrieved from https://www.nsnews.com/nsn-50th/from-the-archives-chief-dan-george-teaches-understanding-3105824 2) The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (2012). “They came for the children,” Winnipeg, Manitoba: The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, p.7. 3) Ibid, p.9. 4) Ibid, p.10. 5) Plantinga, Cornelius. (2010). “Sin: Not the way it should be.” Retrieved from https://henrycenter.tiu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Cornelius-Plantinga_Sin.pdf 6) Hanson, E., Gamez, D., & Manuel, A. (2020). “The residential school system,” Indigenous Foundations. Retrieved from https://indigenousfoundations.arts.ubc.ca/the_residential_school_system/ 7) The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, p.17. 8) Scott, D. C. (1913). ”Indian affairs 1867-1912. In Canada and its Provinces” Vol.7, edited by A. Shortt and A. Doughty. Toronto: University of Edinburgh Press, p.615. 9) Titley, E. Brian. (1986). “A narrow vision: Duncan Campbell Scott and the administration of Indian Affairs in Canada,” Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, p.87. 10) Glavin, Terry. (2021). “Canadians have known about unmarked residential school graves for years. They just kept forgetting”. Retrieved from https://nationalpost.com/opinion/terry-glavin-canadians-have-known-about-unmarked-residential-school-graves-for-years-they-just-kept-forgetting 11) Loyie, L. (2014). “Residential schools with the words and images of survivors,” Indigenous Education Press, p.60. 12) Dion Stout & Kipling. (2003). “Aboriginal people, resilience, and the residential school legacy,” Ottawa: The Aboriginal Healing Foundation, p. i. 13) Van Maren, Jonathan. 2021. “Residential schools and the devastation of state-perpetrated family breakup”. Retrieved from ReformedPerspective.ca/residential-schools-and-the-devastation-of-state-perpetrated-family-breakup/ 14) Colson, Charles. (2015). “My final word: Holding tight to the issues that matter most,” Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, p.233....
…the Internet can pervert anything
Parents need to know that, whether it's biblical fiction or a favorite boy band, innocent interests are being used to draw good kids into evil, dangerous corners of the Web **** Warning: the following addresses pornography and sexual content Born in 1998, I grew up in the generation when the iPod Touch and cellphones were starting to become more accessible to teens. This had a massive effect on my journey through puberty, my struggle to view sexuality in a healthy, biblical manner, my exposure to non-biblical perspectives and content, and my relationships with peers. This technology was new to parents as well, and many were none the wiser to what information and entertainment their children were suddenly able to access. Today, we no longer have that excuse; private, personal access to the Internet is here, and it is riddled with temptations and depraved content. Parents need to keep informed. No real limits, no oversight At age 13, I was surrounded by classmates using the iPod Touch, which had all the features of an iPhone except the option to place calls or texts without Wifi. Any app could be downloaded, any website accessed, and any game played. I bought a second-hand iPod off of a classmate for $20, and a whole new world opened up to me; I could message my friends from home rather than having to call them on the landline! We could talk privately without being overheard, something that was of paramount value to awkward youths who had reached the age when nothing is more embarrassing than your parents overhearing you discuss crushes and the like. Just girls reading Old Testament fiction… Several apps began trending amongst my peers, one of which was an app and website anyone could use to write a book, and anyone else could use to read those books; all you needed to do was create an account. This was very popular amongst girls my age. A particular fictional favorite series in my class was set in Old Testament times; it was from a young woman’s point of view, and contained a fairly innocent love triangle. There was little harm in the series itself. But the app contained scores of books, accessible to whoever desired to read them, and as we all began exploring the app, we discovered something else entirely: erotica. I cannot count the number of poorly written stories I devoured. My parents had told me about the basics of sex, and about God’s design for it, but this new narrative was something completely different. It didn’t matter that I had been taught a biblical view of sex; I now had access to a different definition of it. Curiosity can fester into a full-fledged addiction. We see this with drugs, alcohol, money – all of which are things that children raised in a God-fearing home do not have unhindered access to, things that parents can monitor with relative ease. And it used to be simple to monitor your child’s access to pornography; it took bold action to get ahold of dirty magazines purchased at a corner store, and those magazines had to be hidden under a bed. Even when looking back on your lifetime to your own childhood, most if not all of parents would agree that children and teenagers did not have the same ready access to pornography then. Today is not the same. If your child has a device, they have the possibility to discover virtually thousands of corner store magazine racks. And all of this in the palm of their hand. Whether in the past or the present, children are not equipped with the discretion to navigate most conversations about sex, let alone sexual content and entertainment. By the age of 15, I had read hundreds of gratuitously graphic pieces of literary pornography; I was addicted. The majority of these consisted of “fanfiction.” … to erotic fan fiction Fanfiction is defined by Google as “fiction written by a fan of, and featuring characters from, a particular TV series, movie, etc.” To give some further context, the popular and sexually charged book-turned-film franchise Fifty Shades of Grey started out as a fanfiction of the popular young adult vampire series Twilight. There are different genres in fanfiction, one of which includes the “y/n” character, meaning “your name”; these stories are written as though from the reader’s point of view, and fuel fantasies in which the reader is inserted into romantic and sexual relationships with the characters from whatever story the fanfiction is inspired by. Young preteens can explore written fantasies in which they are the love interest of one or more of their favorite characters, fueling incredibly unrealistic ideals and twisted notions of healthy sexuality. Another genre of fanfiction that is hugely popular is where two characters who do not have a romantic/sexual relationship in the original canonical story are given a new storyline. The vast majority of these “ships” (the slang term for relationships) are not heterosexual. Preteens and teens are lured in by extra content about their favorite characters, while gradually being desensitized to sexually graphic content. They can take their pick from hundreds of smutty stories about Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, Captain America’s Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes, Harry Potter’s Sirius Black and Remus Lupin, Merlin and Arthur, etc. Even more alarming are the number of stories in which real people, generally celebrities, are “shipped” together. Does your child have a favorite secular music artist? Chances are, there are fanfictions out there about them. Most common among these are fanfictions about members of boy bands. There are stories in which two band members have a secret relationship behind the scenes, and fans don’t know; there are stories in which two band members – who live in an alternate universe and happen to be vampires, or rich CEOs of companies, or strippers, or baristas – meet and start dating. There are stories in which five plus members of a boy band are all members of a werewolf pack, and engage in polygamous sexual activities together. As PluggedIn’s article on fanfiction puts it, “a major draw for fanfiction writers and readers is usually the exploration of forbidden romance.” Maybe you have parental controls installed on your phone, and you think, “My child has no access to these sorts of things.” But fanfiction is literary, and it isn’t screened in the same way that visual pornography is. Children can access these stories by merely clicking “I accept” after reading a warning of graphic content. Boys and their cartoons… While I and many of my female peers were exploring these things, the boys were doing something similar. Many boys were watching “anime” on their iPods and iPhones. Anime is defined by Google as “a style of Japanese film and television animation, typically aimed at adults as well as children.” Just as with the content on my writing/reading app, some of these anime shows were harmless, and even contained messages of loyalty, friendship, and other important themes. If you’ve ever noticed your child watching an anime series, you may have thought it was merely an innocent cartoon, and not paid any further attention to it. But many anime series have overtly sexualized female character designs, with unnatural body proportions, and severely immodest clothing. Worse than that, many anime series contain graphic sexual scenes; there is even a category of anime geared specifically towards pornographic content. Male peers admitted to me in later conversation that it was through anime that they discovered pornographic websites. As young teens, they had no credit cards to pay for authentic, licensed anime streaming sites, and so they accessed their anime shows through illegal websites, many of which had flashing advertisements on every page. Nearly every boy in my class and wider peer group was watching pornography on a regular basis by the age of sixteen; some of us girls were curious enough to check it out, too. The pull parents didn’t understand Our parents tried to keep an eye on what we were up to. But it was easy enough to convince them that we were simply reading a harmless book or watching a harmless cartoon. For some of us, our parents set a boundary of not having our electronic devices in our rooms when we went to bed, but we still had access to these things in the bathroom, on the school bus, even in the foyer at school. If you passed by your child in the living room and saw them reading a paragraph or watching an animated show on their phone, how often would you sit next to them and see what they’re reading? Or, perhaps the more relevant question: what is the likelihood they would hide their screen immediately? Many parents today fall into one of two categories: they don’t want to invade the privacy of their teens, and thus leave them to their devices or they constantly demand to know what their children are up to, leading their kids to become more aloof and secretive. I remember being a young teen, and how I chafed against my mother’s occasional questions about what I was reading on my phone. I’d even blatantly lie about it for fear of the truth being discovered. I cannot imagine how much more I would have pulled away from her if she had badgered me about these things. Leaving our kids defenseless In Reformed circles, it is not uncommon for parents to refrain from teaching their children about sex before adulthood. In some cases, parents are so uncomfortable with this that they do not tell their children until they are preparing for marriage, or they do not tell them at all. Some parents, in contrast, give their children too many details at too young an age. I have peers who fall into all of these categories. Finding the balance in this seems very difficult. The biggest issue here is that, due to the prevalence of graphic sexual content available to today’s youth, many are learning about sex through erotic literature or visual pornography. Pornography is typically filmed by men, for men; erotica is typically written by women, for women. Men are creating a fantasy of what to expect from women in a sexual relationship, and women are creating a fantasy of what to expect from men in a sexual relationship. The result is an incredibly narcissistic view of sexuality, stemming from a focus on the reader or viewer’s satisfaction, with no consideration for the other party and no understanding of God’s design for sex and the expression of love it is meant to be. When a boy or young man watches porn, he is buying into a fantasy where he has ultimate power, and the woman’s presence is meant for his pleasure alone. When a girl or young woman reads erotica, she is buying into a fantasy where a man is so utterly consumed by his need for her that he will do absolutely anything for her, as he cannot resist her near-goddess status. (Most females depicted in these books do not believe themselves to be attractive, feeding everyday women the narrative that the most attractive men out there will be attracted to them, and they should not “settle for less.”) This sort of content creates a fantasy of self-worship. It teaches boys and girls to view sex through a greedy, twisted lens. And it’s not slowing down. Common Sense Media’s research report “Teens and Pornography” surveyed a demographically representative set of teens in the United States, and the collected data revealed that 72% of the teens surveyed they had seen pornography; of those, 54% saw it by age 13, including the 15% who saw it by age 11. I am a Gen Z’er. The Oxford Dictionary defines Generation Z as “the group of people who were born between the late 1990s and the early 2010s, who are regarded as being very familiar with the Internet.” I would like to suggest a new definition: “The group of people born between the late 1990s and the early 2010s who have been, en masse, bombarded with pervasive, self-indulgent content – deemed acceptable under the label of expression – to the point that they have been convinced to take up the mantle of blurring the line between advancement and destruction.” Better to pluck out your eyes Roughly two years ago, I made the decision to leave social media. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, I deleted my accounts for all three. Very quickly I noticed an improvement in my moods, thought processes, and overall mental health. But today’s modern message of the importance of identity and sexual expression is everywhere. It’s on Pinterest, in the form of an advertisement under the search bar titled, “Beyond blue and pink - Breaking down the binary.” It’s on YouTube, in the form of reaction videos in which you, the viewer, watch someone else react to a video, typically of a third “someone else.” There is no end to technology’s primary narrative: “It’s all about you.” Youth today are growing up surrounded by a message that is directly contradictory to God’s Word. That’s just as true for the youth of the Church. Don’t be fooled into thinking your children are the exception; my parents did their best with what knowledge they had, but without directly monitoring my every move online, they had no way they could know the full extent of what I was accessing. As someone who grew up in the Church and in a Bible-teaching home, I could still write multiple articles on how today’s social environment and media made me question my sexuality, struggle with extremely low self-esteem, and buy into the notion that a message that contradicts Scripture is maybe not so harmful after all. By the grace of God, the worst of those seasons are behind me, but there are still after-effects that have repercussions on my day-to-day life. Many peers I’ve spoken to about this express the same sentiment. Not all e-books are harmful. Not all animation is harmful. In both categories, there are stories to be found with great messages. But they are the rare diamonds in a pile of coal, and parents must be made aware of the danger present in these forms of entertainment. On a broader scale, parents ought to know how many seemingly “harmless” things their children have access to, and the way it is affecting the development, lifestyles, and perspectives of youth across Western civilization as a whole. If you do not want your child exposed to the Internet or social media, but are looking for a smartphone alternative that offers calling and texting in case of emergencies, you can search for "dumb phone" offerings online (though you'll need to do your research as even some "dumb phones" still do have access to the Internet). Americans have a couple of options: the Light Phone (www.thelightphone.com) and the Gabb Phone (https://gabb.com)....