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News

Saturday Selections - Dec. 16, 2023

Bumblebee with boomwhackers

Just some Dutch guys having fun.

How to make a budget in just a few steps

As we're closing in on a new year, there's no better time to learn how to budget.

A Christmas story from the "Prince of Preachers"

Charles Spurgeon loved Christmas!

Why we must put the transmutilation empire out of business (10-minute read)

We really don't understand the horrors being done to kids and adults in the name of affirmation. As this article details, fake vaginas are created, but they are nothing more than open scars, which have to be dilated in perpetuity, or else they will heal over and close.

The original flying boats

This deep dive into ducks and other waterfowl shows the amazing engineering involved in making an animal that is at home on land, in the air, on the water, and even under it too!

Ann Coulter loses her way

One-time conservative icon Ann Coulter "is saying that it is cruel to protect children in the womb if they have been diagnosed with Trisomy 18, and not cruel to decapitate, dismember, and disembowel those children in abortion clinics."

Click the link above for Jonathon Van Maren's article, and watch below for a short film on the beauty of a 99-day life.

Assorted

Keeping Christ in Christmas: 12 ideas for honoring God in our Christmas festivities

There’s no more exciting time than Christmas. Reflecting on the birth of Christ, gifts, lights, decorations, music, special foods, and time spent with family and friends cause most Christians to anticipate some “good times ahead!” Ah, but since it is supposed to be exciting, and everyone is kindly wishing us a very merry time, we have to be careful to manage our expectations. All the anticipation can raise expectations to unreachable levels – we may begin to think that we have a “right” to a perfect Christmas. Then we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment over the gift or invitation we didn’t receive, the people who didn’t come over, the lack of enthusiasm over gifts we presented, or the lack of cooperation with all the cooking and cleanup! Poor us! Instead, as God’s chosen ones, let’s take the time to meditate ahead of time on Colossians 3:12-17 and “get dressed” for the holiday season by putting on “compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.” Let us bear with and forgive one another, and put on love which leads to harmony. Let us “let the peace of Christ dwell in us” as we celebrate Him! How? By immersing ourselves in God’s Word and singing Psalms and hymns, meditating on His great gifts to us. Resist the temptation to overdo it. Don’t exhaust yourself to the point of complaining. Let there be a balance so that you don’t end up tired, angry, resentful or poor. As you think about how you might spend the Christmas season honoring Jesus Christ whose birth and very life we are celebrating, consider including some of the following suggestions that I’ve gathered.  Suggestions Emphasize giving instead of receiving. As Acts 20:35 tells us, Jesus said that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Instead of asking “What do you want for Christmas?” ask “What are you going to give so and so?” Some activities are: Let young ones choose gifts for family members and teachers at the dollar store – even if some of their choices amuse you. Support a Christian ministry – let the kids earn money working at home or for others, and give it, so that they can feel the joy of donating as well. Collect food for the needy. Give of your time to help the sick or those who are overwhelmed with trials. Assist in a soup kitchen. Give a surprise gift of service to family members, neighbors, friends – and don’t forget your pastor and his family. Have a craft or baking day, perhaps with friends, and give some of the delicious results to others. Be honest about Santa. It’s wrong to lie to your children, especially about an ageless, supernaturally powerful, unbelievably generous, and generally invisible being, who “knows when you’ve been good or bad.” So let them know who is giving them the gifts. The kids will be thrilled that Mom, Dad, Oma, Opa and Aunt Susie showed their love by giving them something special. Consider opening gifts on a different day. That might be Sinterklaas (December 5), or Epiphany (January 6); this could help to keep Christmas Day as a time to worship and glorify our Lord. But note, if you do open gifts on Christmas Day, one thing you don’t want to do is to make the children sit through a devotional while in their little hearts they are eagerly staring at a pile of soon-to-be-unwrapped presents. There’s a time for everything, and it’s fine to let them cherish their anticipation and excitement rather than expecting them to obediently sit through a reading to which they are not even paying attention. Celebrate Advent. Advent means “coming” and begins a specified number of days before Christmas Eve to build anticipation for the actual Christmas day. If you buy an Advent calendar, avoid the distracting ones with candy or cutesy Santas/TV cartoon characters on them. Plan a devotional reading and song for each of the days. Teach your children how to use a Bible dictionary/handbook or the Logos online Bible aids to dig out facts for themselves to present to the whole family at the next dinnertime. Topics might include: Angels – Learn what the Bible says about angels. Some suggested verses are: Matt. 4:11, 24:31, 26:53; Luke 2:10-12, 22:43; 1 Tim. 3:16; Acts 1:9-11; 2 Thess. 1:7; Rev. 7; Ps. 91:11-12. There are useful books on the subject that could also be your guide. Who was Augustus Caesar? – Was he related to Julius Caesar? Make a chart of the rulers from the New Testament era. What is a census and why did Augustus want to do one? Make a family tree together – your own “census.” Where is Bethlehem? – Study maps of Palestine in the time of Christ together, and compare the map to a current one. Bethlehem still exists! Use Google maps to look up the distance from Nazareth to Bethlehem. If the weather is good, take a family hike and compare it to how far Joseph and Mary had to travel. Christmas carols – Learn the stories behind some of the carols and examine the words together to determine which are biblical and which are just sung for fun because they are a tradition (Little Drummer Boy, for instance – would a newborn want a kid to play a drum next to his little ears?). Learn some new-to-you Christmas carols – There are probably some in the Book of Praise or hymnbook that you do not know. Jesus as the “light of the world” (John 8:12) – If you’re putting up Christmas lights, then read/talk together about how Jesus is the light of the world. What does that mean? How can we be lights as well? Make a list of the names/titles of Jesus and talk about each one – Write down a dozen on good cardstock cards, put a number on the front of each, with the name inside and a verse to go with it. Talk about shepherds – What was it like to be a shepherd? Of all the people in the world, it was the shepherds who were told to go to Bethlehem and see the Christ child. Talk about how Jesus later said, “I am the good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep” and “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish” (John 10:11; 27-28). Have a treasure hunt looking for hidden treats and then talk about how Jesus is the Good Shepherd who goes out searching for His sheep. 12 Days of Christmas – Historians disagree about whether this song was put together to aid children in remembering catechism or aspects of the Christian faith. However, there is enough basis that you can choose to look up the details online and view the song this way if you so desire. The Twelve Days of Christmas are supposed to start on Dec. 25 and end on the evening of Jan. 5th. It was traditionally celebrated that the Wise Men arrived with gifts on Jan. 6. What are frankincense and myrrh? – Research some ideas as to why these were given to Jesus along with gold. Christmas-related items – Include information that is interesting/possibly meaningful about items such as the possible Christian symbolism of the candy cane, the use of red and green (symbol of blood and everlasting life), and the circular Christmas wreath symbolizing the eternal nature of Christ and His endless love. Let each family member read a portion of the Christmas story from Luke and Matthew. Take turns choosing carols or Psalms to sing. Host a party. Invite family members but also consider inviting single folks, neighbors, or small families who have no relatives nearby. While large gatherings can be fun, smaller ones lend themselves to better conversations; why not have 2 or 3 small gatherings instead? Go caroling at a hospital, assisted-living home, or to various shut-ins’ homes. Take a small gift of baking or fruit to give. Have the children prepare Christmas cards ahead of time to give out as well. Write a letter to a missionary family or two. Include encouraging scriptures, and let each member of the family tell a little about themselves, whether they write it, or dictate it. Collect yearly memories – Ask each person to write down something that they are thankful for, and something that they would like to see happen in the new year – collect these and pack them away with the Christmas decorations so you can read them when you get together next year. Watch a good Christian movie, such as War Room, Martin Luther, Woodlawn, Alleged, The Case for Christ, Beyond the Mask, Overcomer, Time Changer, Sabina, Courageous, The Song, I Can Only Imagine, and Calvinist and talk about it. Read and write some poems about the true Christmas story. Attend your church service, whether on Christmas morning or Christmas Eve.  Honoring Christ in every way It’s pretty common to see signs that say “Keep Christ in Christmas.” By analyzing what we have done before and carefully choosing what we will do this year, we can accomplish that goal. Sharon L. Bratcher has collected 45 of her RP articles into a book, which is available by contacting her at [email protected]....

Interview with an artist

Joanne Stoffels is on a treasure hunt

Kleanza Creek18” x 36"Acrylic on canvasClear, cool, shade and light; Kleanza Creek near Terrace, BC is a spectacular stop along the highway. The lighting in this scene challenged me. Interview with an artist ***** Smithers, BC artist Joanne Stoffels believes life is a treasure hunt for beauty. And she finds an endless source of inspiration right outside her window in ever-changing mountains, dramatic cloudscapes, tiny blue forget-me-not blooming in her garden, and in the fragile, fleeting beauty of the cherry blossom. Scanning for compositions and framing scenes through windows has become a way of life for Joanne: “My six children, all grown now, and my patient husband humor me as they are called once again to observe the magnificence and share the joy.” Stoffels “sees” paintings while singing the Psalms, or reading Scripture. She often feels as though a painting is just “waiting to burst forth from the edges of my imagination – abstract colours and shapes moving across the page.” The term gloryscope (something she picked up from pastor and author Paul Tripp) resonates deeply with Joanne and she hopes that her artistic creations will draw others closer to the wonders of the true Creator. Stoffels started to paint about 10 years ago, sticking mostly to subjects which she has personally experienced. Mountains, forests and the alpine feature prominently. “Many of my paintings are of places that hold a special memory. Some work is more representational, some leans more to ‘abstract landscape.’” Stoffels is curious about other artists’ experiences too. Especially in her first years of art, she explored the work of Emily Carr and the Group of Seven. “The writings of Emily Carr gave me a feeling of kinship, ‘trying to get that joyous worshipping into the woods and mountains, the works of the Lord.’” She admires the way the Group of Seven in particular have captured our immense, glorious country in a “bold and raw new kind of art.” Currently Joanne works when she can in her dining room/studio whenever inspiration strikes. “Our home has quite a creative, relaxed vibe to it. An easel might be up and the table littered with supplies for several weeks before we tidy it all up again, scrape paint from the table, and use it for guests or family dinner.” She sells her work privately and through a thriving artisan shop in Smithers, called Out of Hand. You can follow Joanne on Instagram @paintingsbyjoannestoffels. You can also connect with the artist by email at [email protected]. Also, some of her work has been transformed into stickers, available on her daughter Montana’s blueskyartshop.square.site store. Late Summer 12” x 36" Acrylic on canvas - This bright piece captures a late summer sunset from our driveway. In the evening the world melts into blocks of colour. If you have a suggestion for an artist you’d like to see profiled in RP please email Jason Bouwman at [email protected]. You can also follow Jason on Instagram: @jaybouwman....

News

Saturday Selections – Dec. 9, 2023

If you can choose your gender, can you choose your race? In this secular video, the presenter compares blackface – whites using black make-up to caricature blacks – with "womanface," where guys say they identify as women. The argument: it would be hypocritical to object to someone identifying as another race if you think it's okay for men to identify as women. A good point, and a fantastic video. But it has the same fundamental problem that all secular "apologetics" have – he's attacking a lie without presenting the Truth, which in this case is that God made us male and female (Gen. 1:27).  So when he confronts students with their hypocrisy, they are left knowing they have to make a choice, but not knowing which way to head. It's like the old joke about a man who insisted he was dead. His doctor asked him, "Do dead men bleed?" to which the man replied, "No, dead men don't bleed." The doctor then pricked the man's finger and, after the man saw the drop of blood forming, the patient shook his head, amazed: "I'm sorry doctor, I was totally wrong. It turns out...dead men do bleed." Similarly, these students might resolve their hypocrisy the wrong way and decide, "I guess blackface is okay." We don't want hypocrites to resolve their hypocrisy by being more consistently wrong – we don't want them to flip from one lie to another. If we're going to help them, Christians have to take this discussion one step further. Like this video, we can creatively highlight the world's silliness and tear down its lies, but we need to do so while standing unashamedly on God's Truth. Left using math to preach their worldview (10-min read) Even Christians will buy into the notion that some areas of life are basically neutral, and the subject of mathematics might well head that list. After all, it doesn't really matter whether you are Christian or non-Christian, 2+2 is still going to equal 4... right? True, sort of. As Christians, we know our Father is a God of order, and so because 2+2 equaled 4 yesterday, we have reason to trust that it will again tomorrow. But why would someone who thinks this is all random, pointless, and without design presume that order from one day should exist in the next? That they do just shows they aren't really living out their own worldview, but rather borrowing from the Christian worldview. Now, as this article details, we're seeing the world act more consistently with their own worldview, using even math to push their own agenda. "In 2022, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis banned 54 out of 132 school maths textbooks submitted for use in the State’s schools either because they did not meet various required standards or because, in his officials’ opinion, they were simply being used as vehicles for leftist propaganda – if you wish to transform this into a politicised maths problem of your own, that’s 41%." Free 24-page creationist activity booklet for kids Are your kids into word searches, spot-the-differences, coloring pages, code-breaking puzzles, and learning about all sorts of different animals? Then be sure to download and print off the latest Acts and Facts Kids edition! Not the way to help depressed teens Programs that schools are using to help kids with anxiety and depression may be making things worse instead. The fact that the State has co-opted the educational role God gave parents (Deut. 6:6-7, Prov. 22:6) means they are doing something God never intended for them, and we shouldn't be surprised if they do it badly. And we shouldn't grant them any grace, no matter how good their intentions might have been, when they hurt children doing a job that wasn't theirs in the first place. The State needs to learn humility, and step away from education altogether. (Not the Bee headline today: Teenagers more likely to be mentally healthy if their parents are conservative). A climate demonstration we'd like to see "To all the people gathering at COP28 wanting to get the public onside we have a piece of advice: plan a big demonstration. No, not of the Extinction Rebellion/Just Stop Oil kind. Rather....if you’re so sure this energy transition can work, and be fun exciting cheap easy and great, stop with the grand pontificating and finger-pointing, and show us a demonstration project. Show us just one large or even medium-sized jurisdiction that can run its economy on ‘green’ energy." Can Geert Wilders be an ally for Dutch Christians?  The November 22 Dutch elections resulted in Geert Wilders's "Party for Freedom" (PPV) gaining more seats than any other. Their Parliament seats 150, and the PPV's 37 seats leaves them with 12 more than the next nearest party, putting them in a position to form a coalition government. The media has labelled Wilders as far right for his stance against Islam, but as Jonathon Van Maren explains, it'd be more accurate to call him a liberal, for his stances on abortion and homosexuality. So how might Wilders' win impact the country's Christians? Red Green: Automated Fence Painter Red Green, with his own brand of dating advice: if the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy. ...

News

Saturday Selections – Dec. 2, 2023

Minimum wage laws increase homelessness, new study finds 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. The energy transition that isn't From 2004 to 2022, the world has spent $4.1 trillion on solar and wind energy efforts. But in that same time period, while wind 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. Climate conference hypocrisy is instructive 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 my 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 tell1 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. Instagram addicted your teen because she's worth $270 to them "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. We will be blamed for transgender crimes 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. Skaters glide across rate Alaska "ice window" This is just glorious - rare conditions up in Alaska set the scene for this unique opportunity to skate across a crystal clear lake. ...

Sexuality

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....

News

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 ...

Gender roles

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"....

News

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). ...

News, Pro-life - Abortion

Pro-life flag proposal gets town talking about worldviews

A proposal by the Smithers Pro-Life Society for their community to fly a pro-life flag was unanimously rejected by their town council, but not without exposing their worldviews and getting the entire community talking about life and freedom and what to do when worldviews conflict.  An unlikely catalyst Along with many other communities located towards BC’s west coast, the town of Smithers has embraced a very secular ideology, which it understands to be “progressive.” As a part of its recent “Pride” celebrations, the town welcomed a drag queen story reading for children at the public library. Not impressed, over 800 members of the community signed a petition to express their concerns. Jessica Vandergaag, a board member of Smithers Pro-Life, was in attendance when the town council responded to this petition. “The councillors reiterated over and over how inclusive and diverse our community is and that the public square was for ‘everyone.’ Their words rang through my head all evening.  A thought came to mind – why not ask for the pro-life flag now when we can hold them to their words of inclusion and diversity? While they still remember the words they said!” Since the town flies rainbow flags on its main street, Smithers Pro-Life was planning to request next year that a pro-life flag be hung as well. But with the town council’s declaration that the public square is for everyone, now seemed the time to act. In the same month Vandergaag, along with board member Betty Bandstra, stood before Smithers council, backed by a crowd of supporters in the gallery. They requested that the town hang the pro-life flag or paint it on a crosswalk in the same intersection as the rainbow crosswalk. Vandergaag proceeded to give an impassioned speech to Council, explaining that “the pre-born remain the group that is most ignored, even though it has the highest death rate, 100,000 killed per year in Canada.” After quoting the mayor’s and councillors recent comments about welcoming different perspectives and worldviews, Vandergaag had the pro-life flag held up, and she made the case that the most vulnerable deserve public recognition “because it is through the awareness of human rights abuses that empathy is developed and public opinion is changed.” A confused response What was the town council going to do? How could they turn down a request for a symbol that shows inclusiveness for vulnerable citizens, with so many in the community demonstrating their support? The local newspaper gave the story its front page, providing coverage that was surprisingly fair to Smithers Pro-Life. Council put the request on their next meeting agenda, and the pro-life community showed up once again, filling the gallery to show their support for the initiative. Each council member spoke, and their words exposed the impact this proposal had on their hearts and souls. They were emotional and passionate… and also confused. One council member, Genevieve Patterson, who identified herself as both pro-choice and Christian, was in tears as she shared her story of multiple miscarriages. She explained how she had three pregnancies where the baby had died after the first trimester, requiring her to have a D&C procedure, to remove the baby. She went on to call the D&C her “abortion” and said that “I am grateful for my right to choose. It saved my life.” She added “As a Christian woman, and a leader in my community, I will never use my relationship with God to rationalize my political beliefs, as I believe my relationship with God is just that – my own.” Although everyone should sympathize with her experience, it is a fallacy to compare what she went through with abortion, as an abortion involves purposeful action to end the life of a preborn child. The pro-life perspective would adamantly support her in her D&C. And although she professes to keep her faith separate from her political beliefs, her pro-choice stance made it very clear that her beliefs dictated her political beliefs. The one member of Council who is known as a Christian and a member of a local Reformed church also voted against the flag. He explained that the feedback he read about the proposal included the concern that: “there will be women in our town, who might have had an abortion, not because they wanted to but because life circumstances forced them to such a decision. The presence of a pro-life flag or crosswalk could be very triggering.” He could understand why they would conclude that. His other comments made it evident that his main concern was about how people from both sides of these issues talked about the other side. Somewhat ironically, the only Council member who showed support for the proposal explained that he was an atheist, and had opposed the original rainbow crosswalk proposal on the grounds that it would raise one ideology or group over others. He sees this current proposal as proof that he was correct, and voted against it for the same reason as the rainbow crosswalk. He said he wanted to see a new proposal to not allow the town to make any more symbolic statements like the rainbow crosswalk, though he wouldn’t remove that crosswalk now because he isn’t in favour of removing symbols. Gladys Atrill, the town’s mayor, started her speech by reflecting that “residents of Smithers have challenged council in the past two weeks with big issues: issues about who we are, what we believe, our worldviews, what is OK in public, what symbols we should consider.” She proceeded to contrast the rainbow flag, and its alignment with the Canadian Human Rights Act, with the pro-life flag, which contradicts the reality that abortion is legal in Canada. “As such, I’m not in favor of placing symbols in public places that relate to health procedures since there are many that are viewed as controversial….. Miss Vandergaag linked her strong faith in God to her pro-life belief. Others hold different views, that abortion is a medically-necessary procedure and that women have the right to self-determination.” Mayor Atrill failed to recognize that the right to life is foundational to all other rights and is included in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which the town is bound to uphold. She also failed to recognize that many things were legal and even celebrated in the past which we are ashamed of today (including how women were not recognized as persons under the law). The fact that something is recognized by law doesn’t make it right. To add to this, the mayor had no issue imposing her worldview (the right to abortion), over Vandergaag’s and others who are pro-life, within the same minute that she claimed that “The debate over abortion belongs at other tables than this one.” From town hall to town square After the town’s unanimous decision against the pro-life flag, the local media covered the story again. And this sparked a conversation that has carried on in the following weeks. In July, a local radio station invited Vandergaag and Bandstra, along with the drag queen story hour host, to an hour-long discussion about the pro-life flag proposal. Although she was nervous about taking part, she reflected after that “the conversation went well and I really felt at the end that God gave me words and guided me through quite the monologue.” She added that the others who took part expressed thanks to her and Bandstra for the civil conversation and the councillor in particular seemed “quite moved” by it. “I really pray and believe that even if it is not aired, that God did some planting there between the six of us.” Reflecting on the whole ordeal, she commented “while the result was not as we hoped, we do believe it to be a positive experience in the grand scheme.” She proceeded to give one example. “I was contacted by a former co-worker, whom I had no idea was pro-life, wondering what the result from Town Council was. Her family was visiting from Ireland and it was a topic of their conversation. I shared that it had been voted down and she expressed her sadness. I was touched that she contacted me and that conversations about it were still happening over a month later!” Not only do these conversations bring attention to our preborn neighbours, they also break through the veneer of “inclusivity” and “equality” that our secular leaders often champion, without having to defend. It was rather obvious that the council members only welcomed some perspectives, and these were ones that aligned with their own worldviews. The antithesis is as real in 2023 as it was in the Garden of Eden. Vandergaag “absolutely recommends” others to do this in their communities, both because of the conversation it creates and as a voice for the preborn who are otherwise not heard. But she also advised that it be done as a “delegation request” rather than simply a letter request. This is a request to address town council in person about a matter that important to a citizen or group, before a decision is made. “Letters can get passed by but a delegation request gets you extra time to present your request and the town council has to act on it with a motion in the following meeting.”...

Parenting

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....

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