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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 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.

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 content is mediocre, there are gems to be found. What follows is a Top 10 list of movies for mom and dad, some of which could be watched with the older kids too. And as a bonus, right afterward, is a Top 10 for shows that the kids might like. In many cases you can click on the movie title to find a longer reviews, and some of those longer reviews even include links to where you can watch them for free, though often in lower resolution. To watch these on, Canadians and Americans can sign up for a free trial here. Movies for mom and dad 1. I Can Only Imagine This is the life story of MercyMe singer Bart Millard, or, more specifically, it’s the story of what drove him to write what might be the most popular Christian song of the modern era, "I Can Only Imagine." The focus isn’t as much on Bart’s transformation from troubled kid to successful singer, as it is about God transforming his abusive father. Cautions here that make this unsuitable for family viewing is that Millard’s father is indeed abusive, both physically, which we mostly don’t see, and verbally, which we do. However, for adults, this will be a remarkable film and a good part of it is J. Michael Finley, a good actor, and an absolutely fantastic singer. 2. The Most Reluctant Convert: The untold story of C.S. Lewis This is the story of Lewis’s conversion from ardent atheist to “the most reluctant convert,” bowing his knee to God not because he wanted to, but because he couldn’t do otherwise. It’s also a story superbly told. If you already know Lewis you’re going to love this film; if you don’t, this film will soon have you loving Lewis for the way he could put into words the wonder God worked in his and our own hearts. 3. The Long Goodbye: The Kara Tippetts Story The remarkable documentary is a tearjerker about a mom facing terminal cancer, who offers us encouragement in her confidence that God has both her and her family. 4. Tortured for Christ Tortured for Christ is a must-see film about Richard Wurmbrand’s courageous and faithful stand against the Soviets when they took over Romania. 5. Sabina This is a sequel/prequel to Tortured for Christ, about how Pastor Wurmbrand's Jewish wife Sabina was willing to help even Nazi soldiers, because of her love for God. 6. Beyond the Mask When a young 18th-century assassin wants to leave his dark life behind his employer tries to have this loose end tied up, with a bomb. The assassin survives thanks to the warning of a passing vicar who ends up paying for his kindness by getting blown up himself. In search of a new life and a new identity, Reynolds adopts the vicar's identity, and meets Charlotte, a young woman who knows a lot more about God than this "vicar" does. Romance, intrigue, daring-do and plenty of explosions follow. A concern would be the violence, which, while never gory, is frequent – lots of fisticuffs going on here. That said, this is one of the better-produced, better-acted, better-written, Christian films. 7. Time Changer In the year 1890, seminary professor Russell Carlisle proposes teaching morality to the masses without making mention of God, reasoning that even if people don’t become Christians, it would be a good thing if they were at least taught that stealing was wrong. But after a colleague uses a time machine to send the professor more than a hundred years into the future, to present-day USA, Carlisle realizes that morals founded on anything but God have no foundation at all, and are just dismissed as opinion. This is a good-looking science fiction movie with an important and powerfully presented Christian message. 8. The Ultimate Gift Jason, a spoilt rich kid, is given an inheritance by his billionaire grandfather, but it comes with conditions. To get the money Jason has to complete 12 separate tasks, all of which are intended to humble and shape him. It’s a fun film, with a grandfather handing out tough love from beyond the grave in the hopes he can still teach and help his aimless grandson. Emily, a child with a terminal condition also teaches Jason some important lessons, but her eventual death makes this one kids won't like. A sequel, The Ultimate Life, is only middling. 9. Extraordinary Extraordinary is based on the real-life story of Liberty University professor and ultra-marathon runner David Horton, who runs races not just hours long, but weeks long. That’s meant he’s left the homefront to be managed by his wife on her own. And she might have had enough. Overall, Extraordinary is a lightweight comedic drama about a doofus husband who takes a while to get his priorities right but who figures it out in time for a happy ending for all. That’s all it is, and on some evenings that’s really all we’re looking for. 10. The Amazing Adventure In this black and white calico, Ernest Bliss (Cary Grant) is a young man who has inherited a lot of money from his father. Yet he’s nervous, can’t eat, and can’t sleep. When he goes to the specialist and the doctor diagnoses him with “self-indulgence” Bliss is both offended and intrigued. What’s the prescription then? The doctor tells Bliss to earn his own living for a year and dismisses him with a wave, knowing that this pampered socialite will never follow this advice. But Bliss ends up making him a bet: if Bliss does do it, then one year from now he’ll expect a handshake and an apology from the doctor, and if Bliss loses, then he’ll give £50,000 for the doctor’s downtown charity clinic. That’s the setup, and the general plotline is as you might expect. Bliss learns some lessons about just how it can be for a regular Joe, and it isn’t too long before he’s secretly using his connections and money to help the struggling people who have befriended him. If you don't mind black and white, and its slower pacing, a couple of other classics worth checking out are Meet John Doe and The Jackie Robinson Story. Bonus: Top 10 shows for the kids There's a lot of fun and goofy content on Pureflix, but some of it is goofy in a theological sense too, so parents do need to exercise discernment on behalf of their little ones. Even the recommendations below include a caution or two. 1. Life at the Pond A Christian series aimed at the preschool set that, like VeggieTales, pairs simple animation with somewhat sophisticated humor – there’s yuks here for mom and dad to enjoy too. The four stars are aquatic: Bill the Duck is a regular joe; we are Bill the Duck Tony the Frog fills the role of wisecracking comic relief Floyd the Turtle is the most child-like, and often the straight man setting up Tony’s zingers Methuselah the Alligator is older, and a voice of biblical wisdom The first two episodes, There’s Something Funny in the Water and The Little Things, are calm enough for even the youngest, while The Alligator Hunter, Big Mouth Bass, and The Rise and Fall of Tony the Frog, have some tension, and even some frantic action, so might be best for 5 and up. 2. Buddy Davis' Amazing Adventures (and The Creation Adventure Team) Buddy Davis is a musician, dinosaur sculptor, and children’s entertainer. In his Amazing Adventures series, he’s teamed up with the folks at Answers in Genesis to share a half dozen expeditions – underground, to Alaska, Africa, the swamps, and more – that kids will really enjoy. In The Creation Adventure Team he pairs up with a robot dinosaur sidekick to investigate when the dinosaurs died, how they lived, and whether there were any on the Ark. These two videos feature pretty frenetic action, some decent special effects, and a number of clever spoofs. 3. Defense of New Haven Defense of New Haven is a wonderfully bizarre adventure: a steampunk Christian allegoric comedy adventure, with every character played by a child actor, even though the characters are adults. Our hero, Alec, is a one-armed man who gets recruited by a fully-bearded six-year-old to carry a secret message to the city’s miniature-steamboat-driving defensive forces so that they’ll be able to stop gas-mask-wearing raiders. That is a sentence I never imagined writing, but this is a movie I would have never imagined seeing. And it is both cheesy and fantastic. If you enjoy this, you’ll also like the producer’s earlier all-children film, The Runner from Ravenshead, which is also available. 4. The Legend of 5 Mile Cave The Legend of 5 Mile Cave begins with a bang, a fleeing cowboy being shot right off his horse by an eagle-eyed sheriff. And it begins with misdirection too: the sheriff looks kind of scary, his posse pretty mean, so are they the heroes? Or should we be rooting for the guy lying at their feet? It doesn’t get any clearer when we cut forward 20 years and see an escaping prisoner evade pursuing guards and their bloodhounds. Again, it seems like we’re supposed to be siding with the bad guy. What’s going on? Don't worry, things will eventually be set aright but it is quite the ride until then. 5. A Show about Anthem Lights A real-life Christian cover band, Anthem Lights, has turned itself into a cartoon. This reminded me of Duck Dynasty, with band members playing dumber, funnier versions of themselves. 6. Storm: Luther's forbidden letter Storm Voeten is the 12-year-old son of a printer living in 1500s Antwerp. Martin Luther has written his 95 Theses and his ideas are a source of debate and division across Europe. That’s also true in the Voeten household, where Storm’s mother, a staunch Catholic, doesn’t even want to hear Luther’s name. But his father is interested in learning more…and he’s even willing to print Luther’s ideas. This is a pain-free way for kids to learn this important history. 7. Back of the Net A science geek girl, looking to spend a semester on the seas studying sea creatures, accidentally ends up at a soccer academy. Hijinks ensue, and while there is just a bit of boy/girl oohing and aaahing, that silliness is kept to a minimum making this a fun one for the fam. 8. Jack and the Beanstalk While this Abbott and Costello classic puts too much of the slap into slapstick, it's otherwise a pretty fun flick. 9. Patterns of Evidence: Young Explorers This 5-episode series is based on filmmaker Timothy Mahoney’s documentary Patterns of Evidence about his search for evidence of Israel’s captivity in Egypt. The original was part mystery, part biblical history and this sequel covers the same territory, but this time with a group of kids along for the ride. This is now not simply a documentary, but a docudrama, with fact and fiction, education and entertainment, all mixed together. There is humor on two levels here, with pratfalls for the kids, and dry humor for the adults – there are some snort-worthy moments! The five episodes in order cover: The adventure begins when the kids hear about Timothy Mahoney’s work and are eager to help They learn that we may know where Joseph lived in Egypt The team searches for signs of captive Israel’s population explosion The Young Explorers go search for signs of the 10 plagues  The search continues on into Israel, where the team now investigates the fall of the walls of Jericho For another fascinating documentary series, check out Creation Proclaims – it's a nature series for kids, that takes a close look at all sorts of animals, and narrated by a former atheist whose university students won him over when they challenged him to look at just how amazing God's creation is. Episodes average around 10 minutes each, focussing on one animal, and there are 24 episodes in all. Mom and dad will find this pretty cool too! 10. VeggieTales They seem to have all or at least most of them, but only some are recommended. Click on the link to see which ones....

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 evolution debate, whether the debate even matters may be the biggest, and more important than how long it took, what method God used, or how to understand the opening chapters of Genesis. Christians understand we shouldn’t bicker with our brothers and sisters over minor matters – Jesus told us: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God” (Matt. 5:9). God doesn’t want us to make big out of little. He doesn’t want us to be quarrelsome, nitpicking all sorts of fights. However, God also warns against making little of big. There is a time and place for fighting, and we mustn’t be like the watchman on the wall who saw the danger coming and stayed quiet (Ezek. 33:6-8). It is a con to say “peace, peace” when war is at the door (Ezek. 13:10-16, Jer. 6:14). Now, in the creation vs. theistic evolution debate, there are a lot of Christians who aren’t prepared to pick a side. They aren’t loyal to 6 days or billions of years, perhaps believing they need a theology or science degree to be qualified to take a stand. They don’t want to be forced to pick one team over the other. However, when the question is “Does this matter?” then not picking a side is still picking a side. Refusing to choose is only legitimate if this is no big thing. So is it really no big thing… or is it huge? To answer that question, let’s look at both sides. Side 1: Who matters more than how Among the “can’t we all get along” folks, the focus is on just how much agreement there is between 6-day creationists and theistic evolutionists. Both acknowledge the God of the Bible as our Creator. We all agree He made us, and that His creative genius is evident in the whole of the astonishing universe around us. Whether we’re looking at the Sun that warms us from 150 million kilometers away, or the chubby toes of our newest grandbaby, we’re all in awe of what He hath wrought. And isn’t that basis enough for fellowship? The argument here is that Who did it matters much more than how He did it, or how long He took. Who matters more than how. As long as Christians all give God the credit, then isn’t everything else incidental? Side 2: How tells us all about Who On the other side there is a ready concession that Who does indeed matter more than how. After all, God matters more than His creation. But how He started it all isn’t incidental. It matters too, because how God chose to create reveals God’s character. How He created tells us about Who God is. So yes, both sides agree it is the God of the Bible who created, but that isn’t as significant as it might first seem. Consider the Muslims, who also declare that the God of the Bible created. And they say their Allah has no Son. That means their biblical creator god, isn’t actually God. Orthodox Jews worship the God who created, but deny Jesus is God. Mormons worship a biblical god who created and even has a son…but he also has a wife. And his son is said to be the brother of Satan. Their creator god is not our Creator God either. It is possible, then, to worship such a distorted image of the biblical Creator that you aren’t actually worshiping God at all. This issue is that big. The argument here is that how God created is an issue worth investigating because, in His chosen means, God is teaching us about Himself – God reveals Himself not only in His Word but also in His creation (Ps. 19:1-4). As Paul puts it in Romans 1:20: “…His invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.” The how matters because it tells us all about Who. What do the two creation accounts tell us about God? What then, do the two different creation accounts teach us about God? Creationists worship a God whose power was such that He spoke into existence something from nothing, and made a universe appear in just 6 days. Thus the famed chicken and egg dilemma is no dilemma at all for creationists, who know the chicken sprung into being fully formed on Day 5. And while pagans worship the Sun, God showed His great power by creating light (Day 1) before even creating a light source (the Sun on Day 4). Both marriage and the two sexes, male and female, were created in this 6-day period. God affirmed again and again that what He made was “good” and, upon completion on Day 6, even “very good.” What is good? The perfect sinless world was good. And it was good, not only as it was on Day 6, but even as it was being made through Days 1-5 – God found the process good too. Creationists know that death appeared as a result of Man’s disobedience – we broke the world. But there is hope; this enemy, death, has been conquered by Christ’s perfect obedience. And it is through Jesus that the world will be made good once again. The god of theistic evolution took billions of years to form the universe. During that process neither the chicken nor the egg was first: they were preceded by millions of years of incremental evolution that necessarily involved a red-in-tooth-and-claw, survival-of-the-fittest, where the weak were killed off and the strong went on to breed. Death didn’t simply precede Man’s fall into sin, it preceded Man by millions of years. And rather than being the enemy, death was a key tool in God’s creative work. Marriage and gender weren’t always so, but evolved at some point, and who knows but that they may be evolving still. And it is this eons-long process of constant change – with its refining diseases, innumerable mutations, repeated disasters, and, yes, death, death, and more death – that God was calling good and very good in the opening chapters of Genesis. The implications extend to the present, where creationists can turn to Scripture for guidance on issues like homosexuality, marriage, and gender confusion. We can learn what is best for men and women by seeing how God made us at the beginning. But if we evolved, and that process was good, why couldn’t we be evolving still? Our forebearers, when once they were single-celled, weren’t divvied into two genders – that only came later. So if we could go from none to two genders, why can’t we evolve new additions like ze and zir? And why would we presume that marriage has to be between just the first two genders? What answer does theistic evolution have to the craziness of our age? Does theistic evolution present a false god? Thus the god of theistic evolution bears little resemblance to God of the Bible. But does that mean theistic evolutionists are without hope? Are they worshipping a false god? Thankfully, it is not our brilliance that saves us, but God’s grace. And that’s why, even as some theistic evolutionists worship a god of their own invention, we can hope and pray and expect that many others still worship the true God, though in their inconsistency. They might say they believe in billions of years of death, but their faith is still in the God who declared death an enemy and conquered it. They may doubt the accuracy of some of Jesus’s words – how he spoke of a literal Adam and Eve created in the beginning (Mark 10:6, Matt. 19:4) – and yet cling to His promise that there are many rooms in His Father’s house (John 14:2). They may mangle the first few chapters of Genesis, but then take God at His Word for the whole of the rest of the Bible. That doesn’t make this any less of a big deal. Over a lifetime people do work out their inconsistencies. Many theistic evolutionists will either come to acknowledge God’s Word as authoritative from beginning to end, or they’ll subject the rest of God’s Word to further review and revision by outside authorities. It’s no slippery slope fallacy to say that if you scratch a professing Christian who’s pro-choice or LGBT-affirming, underneath you’ll find an evolutionist. Conclusion Like Allah, without a son, the god of theistic evolution offers no hope. In seeing billions of years of death as good and very good, what need would such a god even have to send his son to die for us? Thankfully, the one true God did send His Son, so we can have not only hope but an assurance that our sins are paid for, death is defeated, sickness will end, and all of creation will be redeemed. The creation debate isn’t one any Christian can avoid – it is of the first importance, because it is about Who God is....


Saturday Selections – Nov. 25, 2023

Refuting Mormonism – is there only one God? (9 min) It can be a bit confusing to nail down whether Mormons teach that we can become gods, and whether, consequently, there were gods before God. Official materials will seemingly deny it on the one hand, and on the other share how founder Joseph Smith taught his followers that God "was once as one of us," and how the fifth LDS President Lorenzo Snow crafted this couplet: "As man now is, God once was: As God now is, man may be." But as Jeff Durbin shows in this clip, that is not what the Bible teaches in Is. 43:10-11 and elsewhere. Turning cow poop into gas to run the tractors Some environmental sorts still see overpopulation as a threat to the planet. But God's people know He gave us a brain to problem-solve with, and two hands to put to work. So we can be creative like our Maker, and come up with intriguing energy-producing, pollution-reducing ideas like turning poop into fuel. Daddy has to work now... If your kids think work is the place that takes daddy from them, then they'll view it quite negatively. So how can we instill a biblical view of work in our kids? The insanity of denying free will To justify their rebellion against God, smart people can believe the craziest things... Potty humor from Old Testament times In 2 Kings 10:27 we read of Israel's King Jehu cleaning house by killing Baal's priests and tearing down his temple. But we get one more detail thrown in - the temple wasn't just destroyed, it was desecrated: "...people have used it for a latrine to this day." An archeological find shows that Judah's King Hezekiah may have done something similar, though more symbolically, one hundred years later. A "symbolic toilet" was found in a dig at Tel Lachish in what some archeologists believed to be a small shrine. They think the purpose was simply to desecrate the unknown false god's place of worship. Or as Newsweek's Kastalia Medrano put it: "Hezekiah's behavior basically stemmed from his belief that his ancestors hadn't worshipped piously enough by turning to other gods, a lapse he apparently intended to remedy by both literally and figuratively defecating on holy places set up to worship those gods." Does earth have methods to regulate climate? Here's an account of climate regulators that the climate models either haven't taken into account at all, or to the right extent. Billions of ways to die (2 min) The authors of Your Designed Body want us to understand while there are billions of ways to die, everything has to go just right for us to be alive. ...

RPTV, Sexuality

RPTV: Jojo Ruba talking about Canada's Conversion Therapy Bill

 Welcome to Reformed Perspective, I'm Alexandra Ellison. Today we're here in the Canadian History Museum, reflecting on Canada's past. We're right now in front of the LGBTQ history section, and it's quite interesting to reflect on how things have changed. Today we're going to be talking about Bill C-4, which was first passed in 2021: the conversion therapy bill. I had a conversation with JoJo Ruba, a Christian apologist and communications director at Free to Care, reflecting on the history of the conversion therapy bill, and what this means for Christians, churches, and the general public. JoJo Ruba: Free to Care was a ministry that started about two years ago when conversion therapy legislation and bans were being put in place, particularly here in Alberta where I live; and these bans are so intrusive and badly written, that simple counseling by consenting adults is now criminal. And LGBTQ people no longer have access to that and Christians can no longer provide that support; so Free to Care now, as there's been legislation passed federally, is working to educate and equip churches and pastors and ordinary Christians to continue to support their LGBTQ-identified friends and family, and to continue to share the gospel even in this issue, believing full well that God can do wonderful things for people who are same-sex attracted, like myself. Alexandra Ellison: Yeah, and you know, going back to 2021, when Bill C-4 – the conversion therapy bill – was passed, could you kind of talk about that for people that maybe haven't heard much about it, or maybe just heard what they saw from the mainstream media? JoJo Ruba: Yeah, no, the mainstream media didn't cover much of it. It actually started with a man named Kris Wells out here in Alberta. Kristopher Wells : So today, in 2019, conversion therapy largely takes place underground; you won't be able to walk into a licensed counselor’s office and ask them to engage in this practice, because it would be deemed to be unethical and unprofessional. So we largely see conversion therapy happening underground in faith-based communities, which makes it harder to detect, but also more dangerous, the more underground a practice like this goes. JoJo Ruba: So the bylaws here in Alberta actually define conversion therapy as any practice, treatment, or service that offers even LGBTQ people simply to help reduce unwanted same-sex sexual behavior; not just attraction, behavior. So we called up about 25 counseling agencies, secular psychologists and psychiatrists, asked them for help with porn addiction. And all of them that did sexual addiction counseling said yes. But when we said it was gay porn addiction, suddenly they didn't want to help anymore. And two counseling agencies even said, we will let you get help, but you can't mention it's gay porn. So which is exactly the point we're making, right? This isn't a ban on torturing people, which is what the common mindset was, as with why the LGBTQ people were pushing this was because they had said, ‘Many of us have experienced torture, we were forced under, were tricked into getting counseling from these churches. And all they were trying to do is make us not gay.’ And so this narrative that homosexuality is this immutable identity was really at the heart of the debate, Alexandra, and the challenge was for us to actually speak to that mindset, to say as Christians, we actually don't believe sexuality should be your identity; we believe that we are much bigger, much better, more important than who we want to sleep with, or what kind of clothing we want to wear today. And we think God has designed us to find our identity in Christ, which means our priorities or choices are all about following how God designed us and not how we think about ourselves. And that we love people because we and they are made in God's image, not in our own image. That's the big mistake that this legislation is pushing. And so after the Calgary bylaw was passed, the same organizers, Kris Wells in particular, brought this to the federal level. So what happened was the Liberals called an election, the Bill had to be reintroduced as Bill C-4, it was called C-6 before – and Bill C-4, that's when they actually added that this also, this bill also applies to consenting adults. Before, consenting adults may have been challenged, but it wasn't specific, now it is specific that consenting adults, consenting Canadians can no longer access the counseling that they want if they're simply wanting to reduce same-sex sexual behavior. So we pointed out at this point, if you're providing marriage counseling, if your pastor is providing a marriage counseling – and of course marriage counseling means that you make a commitment to say, hey, we're not gonna be sleeping around with anyone other than our spouse, right? Of course, I mean, this is 2000 years of Christian teaching and the Jews before that, right? It's not a surprise, we teach that. Well, if that counseling includes, well, you can’t have sex with someone of your own sex, that's technically conversion therapy counseling now, and that's technically criminal, when by the way the results of that, the punishment, is five years in jail for offering that kind of counseling, and three years in jail for simply giving the phone number out of a pastor or Christian counselor, who would help you reduce your same-sex behavior.  That Bill went through, who because of the Conservatives and Liberals and the rest of the parties coming together said we're not going to debate it, even though it was radically changed by adding consenting adults. And we're going to pass it without any public inputs. Speaker of the House of Commons : Accordingly, all those opposed to the honourable Member moving the motion, will please say nay. Agreed. The House has heard the terms of the motion. All those opposed to the motion will please say nay. There being no dissenting voice, I declare the motion carries. JoJo Ruba: All they needed was one MP to say no, we're not going to let that happen; we need it to go through a democratic process. No MP from the Conservative Party; to vote against that, all we needed was one. And so it became law, the end of 2021, beginning of 2022. But here's the problem. The Liberals actually passed legislation that said, the Justice Department has to provide legal analysis for any new criminal legislation that would change the Criminal Code. Well, that analysis never came out until the day this Bill got royal assent and became law. So there's no way the Members of Parliament would have read that legal analysis. And particularly that legal analysis said exactly the same thing we were saying during committee stage: what you're doing is potentially violating the Charter rights of consenting adults to have the conversations that they want to have. And this Kris Wells guy actually compares people like myself, who’s a consenting adult, to drunk drivers who are incapable of making decisions. He actually did a CBC video saying that. So this is the kind of mindset that we're dealing with. And Alexandra, just to summarize all of this, it's been a year and a half now, almost two years since the Bill was passed. And not one person has been charged under this law. But what's interesting is during the time of this debate, the people who were pushing for this law said thousands of gay kids were being tortured in church basements as we speak. That's the kind of language they were using, ‘thousands.’ Well, if that's the case, then we should have had at least one person being, you know, rescued from these awful Christians, torturing them in the church basements. But again, torture and kidnapping are already criminal beyond this law. So that hasn't happened. And in fact, the first conversion therapy events in Vancouver and in Ontario for kids already were passed around 2015. So none of these laws or bylaws, both provincially and municipally, and federally, have had any one person convicted, or charged. So that tells me there's something else going on here in terms of legislation. And what we think it is and we've seen this sadly happen is it actually creates a chill effect among churches and pastors – so that churches are themselves self-censoring. One large church here had their pastor actually tell someone, that if someone, even a member of his own congregation, came to him asking for help dealing with same-sex attraction, he would refuse to help them. And that's the kind of stuff we're sadly seeing, because Christians are not understanding the ramifications of this. If the government can dictate what we believe, and how we practice our beliefs, even within our own members, in terms of how we teach the Bible, what the Bible teaches on sexuality, on this issue – they can do that on any issue. And the secular government coming into the churches, saying we will police you if you start praying for gay people and to help them not act the way they don't want to act themselves as consenting adults. That has to be something we understand is the most egregious religious freedom violation – in fact, human rights violation that is the case right now in Canada, I would argue. Alexandra Ellison: Yeah, well, I think it's great. Just, you know, thank you for taking the time to go over the history and what has happened. Kind of reflecting on that, as Christians, especially, you know, a large audience who's watching us are Christians, how should we react to this and is there anything that we can do to fight against legislation like this, even though it has already been passed? JoJo Ruba: Well, any legislation that's passed, of course, is always subject to the will of the democracy. So, as Augustine, I think it was, I think it was one of the one of the Catholic MPs actually told me, culture is always affecting politics. In fact, politics is downstream to culture. Which means if we want to change the law, we want to change the culture first. And part of the conversations that the church has to have is on sexuality and gender identity, being able to give a positive, life-affirming, real-person discussion, where we focus on God's truth and love for humanity. And the fact that because He loves us, He gives us rules on how we ought to behave. Right. So that's part of the conversation training I provided for you. I’m writing a book on that actually, hopefully, you guys here, your audience, I'd love to hear your prayers for this. And if you want to order one next year, hopefully, it'll be done by this time next year. We would love to share that with you. But it's about redeeming conversations. So that's part of the title, where we want to redeem the opportunity, so to have conversations with people. One of the saddest things, Alexandra, that I saw was the Members of Parliament debating the issue during question period during the debate on the Bill. And you could just see how ignorant so many of these Members of Parliament are not just of the Bill itself, but of Christians in general. So there were several Bloc Québécois MPs, for example, en français, who said we need to re-educate these ignorant, small minority groups of people who are torturing kids, basically, with Bibles. They often reference movies where kids were tortured with Bibles. When I went through my counseling that never happened, the person read the Bible with me, we prayed together. And he helped me understand that sexual attractions are things that I have, it's not things that we are unless we want to make them that way. And I've never acted on or identified as gay, because that's not what I am. And I think it's important to give that kind of messaging to the culture around us, especially to young people. But there's gonna be many times where we will find ourselves sexually attracted to or sexually confused in all kinds of ways. That's okay. But that's part of a fallen world. The challenge is, what do you do with that? What do you do with those attraction? What do you do with those feelings? Do you take the time to submit them to God and trust that God's design is good? Or do you act out and follow what the culture says you ought to become or do or be, right? So the first step is really we need to get our house in order if we as churches want to deal with this issue publicly. And with this law, we want to make sure our Christian community is actually solid on this issue. And sadly, there are Christian denominations, including Reformed denominations, that have gone completely off their rocker on this issue. As we reflect on the two years since the passage of Bill C-4, it's essential for Christians to stand firm in their faith and continue to reflect biblical sexuality, even if that means going against what the world has to say. If you enjoyed this video, make sure to give it a thumbs up and share it with family and friends. For Reformed Perspective, I'm Alexandra Ellison in Ottawa....

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, RPTV

RPTV: Hamilton-bus pro-life ad ruling is a technical win, but still a win

TRANSCRIPT Welcome to Reformed Perspective, I'm Alexandra Ellison. Today we are here in Hamilton, Ontario right outside the Provincial Court to cover ARPA's legal battle against the city of Hamilton in a case that has captured the attention of pro-life advocates. The central issue is whether ARPA Hamilton has the right to display a pro-life advertisement on the side of a city bus. In the spring of 2021 ARPA Hamilton attempted to post a pro-life ad on a city bus when MP Cathay Wagantall's bill to ban sex-selective abortion was before Parliament. John Boekee: The work we were doing at the time was advocating for the sex-selective abortion bill. The ad said we're for women's rights, and through pictures, it applied that to women of several different ages. We thought to say that we're for women's rights shouldn't be that controversial. Yet they were able to connect it to abortion, so for that reason, it was rejected. The city's reasoning for rejecting the ad is rooted in their assertion that a pre-born child does not qualify as a human being under the criminal code, and thus is not a person. Using a personal pronoun implied personhood and was thus misleading. John Sikkema: In our case against the City of Hamilton, we had a fairly brief hearing at the Ontario Court in the city of Hamilton. The court decided that Hamilton was not justified in rejecting our ad, so in that sense, the case was a win for ARPA. The court said that the city had not explained to us, in writing, how it limited our freedom of expression, and so the court sent it back. The court said this decision fails – you, the city of Hamilton, need to give reasons on freedom of expression. Now, truth be told, that's not how we wanted to win. We had actually framed the case, not as a freedom of expression case, first of all, but as questioning the city's finding that our ad violates the city's advertising policy. So what we had wanted was for the court to look at that policy and to find that the ad does not violate it and we think we had pretty good arguments for why that was the case. The court didn't hear those arguments and kind of decided it on, again, a bit of a more technical issue. So while it's a technical win, it's not really what we wanted to accomplish with this case because pro-life ads keep getting rejected as being allegedly misleading, and violating advertising policy. So, at this point, we have to decide, do we wait to see what the next decision is from the City of Hamilton and challenge that? Do we possibly appeal the decision of this court even though technically we won? Those are things we'll have to decide as we get the written reasons from the court for its decision, which we don't have yet. John Boekee: When you are frustrated with human judges and human courts, we turn to that, that He is the judge of all the earth, and in the end there will be justice. We are thankful for that, and we can rest in that. But there is also frustration at human judges who give us so little time after so much work had been put in, so that is very frustrating. But we can be thankful that there is still appeal, and there is still a justice system. So trusting that God is the Judge of all the earth, that also gives us the motivation to keep working and to keep going day-to-day to do what He's called us to. And that wraps up our coverage of the ARPA Hamilton case. We'll continue to follow this case closely and bring updates as they unfold. Thank you for joining us today – please feel free to support our work by subscribing to this channel and sharing this video with friends and family. For Reformed Perspective, I'm Alexander Ellison in Hamilton, Ontario....

Culture Clashes

World gone woke

This is an overview of “World Gone Woke,” Episode #75 from Lucas Holtvlüwer and Tyler Vanderwoude’s Real Talk podcast. Real Talk is a bi-weekly podcast of Reformed Perspective featuring great conversations on everything from propaganda to pornography. If you haven’t checked it out, you really should. And you really can, at ***** What does it mean to be “woke”? What challenges does the “woke” world present to the Church, and especially for the younger members of the body? Real Talk’s Lucas Holtvlüwer recently sat down with Pastor Greg Bylsma to talk about the “world gone woke,” and other challenges for Christians today. Rev. Bylsma developed a passion for evangelism as a teenager already, studying missions at Redeemer College, before becoming a theological student at Mid-America Reformed Seminary. He has served Living Water URC in Brantford, Ontario for the past thirteen years. Being woke sounds good In broad terms, Rev. Bylsma defined woke culture as the idea of becoming awakened to all the prejudices and discriminations that exist in the world, and newly alerted to the effects of these prejudices on the downtrodden. “When you become ‘woke,’ you begin to see all the aggressions and ‘micro aggressions’ (against minority groups, non-traditional sexual identities, or different viewpoints).” And when you are woke, you will dedicate yourself to fighting this oppression, which exists whether or not others around you are woke enough to see it. The woke movement talks about “systemic racism” – prejudice against other beliefs and races that permeates all of our societal and governmental structures. The more woke one is, the more devoted one becomes to tearing down these structures and rebuilding a new world without prejudice or oppression. Holtvlüwer noted that on the surface, this can sound good, and Rev. Bylsma agreed: of course we as Christians want to fight oppression and prejudice, and we must be opposed to all racism. But the devil is in the details: when Satan and the world use what seems to be a righteous cause, to tear down the Judeo-Christian foundations of a society, the result is chaos where “everyone does what is right in his own eyes.” How should we deal with the woke movement in the Church? Rev. Bylsma recommended that Christians be very careful to examine what the underlying meanings are of slogans used by the woke movement: “’Love is love’ is not a statement we can stand behind because of what it has come to mean.” It means that all types of sexual love are acceptable and must be allowed, which of course is in contrast with Biblical teaching. “We can’t fly the gay pride flag, because it symbolizes acceptance of homosexuality as not sinful,” he noted. One of the tools Rev. Bylsma recommended was the “New Reformation Catechism on Human Sexuality” written by Rev. Chris Gordon, which cuts through a lot of the confusion around sexuality and gender, using clear Biblical instruction. At the same time, we want to recognize that all sinners are called to repentance, and people who are living a homosexual lifestyle are sinners that we should want to see saved to renewal in Christ. “We should be welcoming to LGBTQ people, we should want to preach the Gospel to them… But we can’t pretend that sin is OK,” the pastor explained. Bylsma continued, “The Bible differentiates between one who is a sinner who is not a believer, and one who is a believer but continues in sin.” He referenced especially 1 Corinthians 5 where Paul differentiates between the sexually immoral, the greedy, and the swindlers who are of the world, from those continuing in sin who claim to be Christians – those who bear the name of brother. “We are not to associate with those who claim to be Christians who also persist in sin and say that this is OK. We can and should walk away from those who persist in sin and claim to be Christ’s.” Rev. Bylsma also noted that Paul puts sexual immorality on the same plane as greed and swindling – so it’s not the great sin; it’s just like greed, just like swindling. It is a sin like other sins. But Christians who insist that being a practicing homosexual is OK, or that changing genders is acceptable, can’t be treated the same as one who is ignorant of the Bible. “ dealing with someone in your friend group, and they’re claiming to be gay, or a girl claiming to be a boy, and they say they’re a Christian, and there’s nothing wrong with what they’re doing… the Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 5 that we should have nothing to do with that person.  First, we follow the rule of Matthew 18, but if they refuse to accept admonition, refuse to accept that this is sin, then we no longer have a relationship with that person.” This is different from someone who is questioning their sexuality or questioning their gender. “If they’re wrestling with these things, and they’re a friend, then we continue to talk with them. them towards good advice (a pastor, a parent, a Christian counselor)... Don’t shun them; keep them in your connections. Be a friend! You don’t have to be a Christian counselor. Especially young people should not think they need to be the counselor themselves…” Let’s recognize that we all have areas in which we struggle with sin, especially sexual temptation. We should not excuse our own sinful tendencies. We all need Christ; we all need the same Savior. What’s coming, and how to be prepared Holtvlüwer wondered what might be coming next in terms of the woke movement, and how we can prepare for it. “I don’t know what’s coming,” replied Rev. Bylsma. “But Canada is moving ahead very fast with woke ideology. Faster than Europe for example. Friends from Holland recently said ‘We can’t believe how woke Canada is!’ In the U.S., there is strong pushback against the woke agenda (but that push) is not here in Canada. “We may go into a greater time of persecution, where we can see the Church sanctified and purified. The Church will be tempted to compromise on what is called ‘non-essentials.’ The Church cannot do so, we must hold to God’s Word. If it means being shut down, going to meet underground, worshipping out in the fields, we must do so. We may see the Church split based on her stand for scriptural truth. Businesses may lose work, jobs, income, because they won’t support LGBQT agendas, won’t put the gay flags out. On the other hand, we could see a counter swing as people see what is coming and how far it’s gone (for example drag queens reading to children).” God may give persecution, or a temporary stay – but either way, the Church’s response must be uncompromised allegiance to the gospel, and diligence and vigilance in making Christ known, and calling the nations to follow Him. Real-life relationships Rev. Bylsma is worried that so many people, in particular the young, are heavily influenced by social media and “electronic friends” as opposed to real, in-the-flesh friendships. “The gospel deals with real people, real neighbors; gospel ministry is real people, getting to know your neighbors, speaking to people, hearing where they’re at. This whole Internet world destroys those connections. We need to teach our kids to have real relationships with real people. Away from artificial intelligence, away from virtual relationships, or following remote YouTube teachers.” Holtvlüwer pointed out that many young people who are struggling with sexual identity are also spending time alone, researching things online, spending a lot of time under the influence of non-Christians. Positive, real-life friendships with fellow believers can go a long way in keeping one grounded in the foundations we have been taught at church, school and home. Some conclusions Holtvlüwer and Bylsma touched on other topics as well, including whether or not the Church should withdraw from the world in response to the anti-Christian culture around us. And they also addressed finding joy in suffering for the Name. Ultimately, Rev. Bylsma finds the answers to the woke movement, and to an increasingly hostile world, to be the same as they always have been for Christians: “The answers may be more basic, and more difficult, than we might assume. How do we prepare for what’s coming? Love the Lord, love His Word, love His Church, love the lost. No matter what guise the devil takes, the answers are always Christ. “….How do we get through this? Reflect on 2 Timothy 3: ‘All of scripture is inspired by God, and is profitable, is edifying, to thoroughly equip the man of God for every good work’ – including today! Love the Word of God, study it honestly, take time to be with the Lord, take time to be in prayer, bring your kids to God in prayer, bring your lost neighbors to God in prayer, strive to be faithful in allowing the Spirit to talk to your heart and convict you of where you’re falling into sin. Pray the prayer of David (from Psalm 139): ‘Search me, oh God, and know my heart, try me and know my anxious thoughts, see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.’” Byslsma concluded: “Christ is always the Victor, He is always the King, He will never lose a sheep from His hand. Draw near to Him, love Him, love His Word. You don’t have to listen to a thousand podcasts, you don’t have to read a thousand books. Dig into the Scriptures, tackle this honestly, ask questions… Iron will sharpen iron, and the Lord will bless. “ is a scary monster, but Christ has got His foot over (the devil’s) neck, and He’s about to stamp. Remember Romans 16: the Lord will soon crush the devil under your feet. Be humble, prayerful, and courageous, and bold as a lion, because the devil flees when we resist him… Stick to the basics and press on!” ...


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 not your family "Calling a business, civic organization, or even school a 'family' may be well-intended but comes with unintended consequences that do an injustice to the necessary commitments that should be made to our actual families." Angels from on high – a Remembrance Day story In this WWII true story, the late W.H. Bredenhof recounts how God used some unusual angels to save him and his companion. Thinking smartly about global warming (15-min read) Bjorn Lomborg is willing "to concede that global warming is real, to some large extent manmade, and a serious problem" (a point I would not so readily concede) but still thinks our current attempts at climate management are more hysteria than help. Lomborg is not Christian, but where his worldview aligns with God's is in how he views human worth: if a proposal might supposedly help the planet in the future, but hurts people now, then he knows better than to tread on the poor. On John McCrae, the author of "In Flanders Fields" A look at the man behind the most famous Remembrance Day poem. The case against micromanagement God gave us government because people aren't saints. But governments are made up of people, so we shouldn't expect them to be saints either. And as this video shows, even when the folks in charge do act with the "best of intentions," that still doesn't guarantee the results. ...


The most popular girlfriends are AI

Satan’s efforts to corrupt God’s design for marriage and sex has evolved yet again, spurred on by the advance of Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI technology now allows people to create their own virtual girlfriend. For a fee, you can design not just their looks, but also their personality, and then have a “relationship” with them. “Create a girlfriend who is judgement-free! Who lets you hang out with your buddies without drama! Who laughs at all your jokes!” reported British freelance writer Freya India in her article “We Can’t Compete with AI Girlfriends.” According to a recent Breakpoint article, “since 2008, the share of men under 30 reporting no sex at all has nearly tripled.”  With more young men being single and lonely, the appeal of these apps is no surprise. Their popularity has already led some “real” social media influencers to adapt the technology for their own profit. India gave the example of Caryn Margorie, a young woman who has a large following on the social media platform Snapchat, who worked with an AI company to make an AI version of herself. She charges users $1 a minute to chat with this AI self. She is bragging about the thousands of boyfriends that she has and reportedly makes over $100,000 in a single week. This is the latest step in a trend towards increasing isolation and individualism, made popular for years already through the internet. Instead of embracing the joys and challenges of living with the families and neighbors that God has given us, it is easier to retreat to communities of like-minded people online. And with AI, these are not even real people any more but technology that has been made to figure out exactly what we want and like. It is a retreat into our own selves. The first human, Adam, started his life alone. But God said “it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make a helper fit for him” (Gen. 2:18). As with so many other steps being taken by mankind today, AI girlfriends is a choice to ignore God’s good design for humanity. Although it may satisfy desires for a time, it will never fill empty hearts and souls. As our world quickly changes, the church can be a beacon of light and hope simply by living the “ordinary” calling God has given us. Getting married, and having children, is becoming extraordinary. Thankfully, it is also the means through which Christ grows His covenant community. And no technology will ever be able to stop this....

Christian education, News

“Early Years” mornings help preschoolers, and their parents, build connections

The gym at Smithville’s John Calvin Christian School (JCCS) is almost always filled with the delightful sounds of kids having fun. Once a month, however, the voices heard come from a particularly younger set. Through the initiative of the JCCS promotions committee, an Early Years morning for moms of preschool-age children has been running for over a year now. The idea was that often in the preschool years, parents and children never have the opportunity to actually visit the school. This means that when their children eventually do start kindergarten, it can be quite overwhelming and unfamiliar for them. The preschool years are also a time when parents might feel disconnected from the larger community and the school and when it comes time to be making decisions about pre-tuition etc., they have no feelings of personal connection to the school. In an effort to close that gap, the Early Years morning initiative was born, and it has turned out to provide so much more than an introduction to the school. Once a month (on random days of the week so that the same class does not miss Phys Ed) the gym is set up into stations. Gym mats are laid out and at each station are different types of toys, like Thomas the Train sets, Paw Patrol figurines and trucks, a kitchen with dress-up clothes, and a craft and coloring table. All moms, dads and grandparents with preschool-age children are invited to attend, including those who already have older children in school. For the first hour and a half the children play at all the different stations, meeting their future peers and burning off some energy. The parents or grandparents stay close by and chat with others while enjoying the coffee and baking provided. A toonie donation per child covers the cost of some of the expenses that occur (new toys, snacks and craft items). When playtime is finished the toys are put back in buckets and set against the stage wall for Grade 6 to come and clean up later (thanks Grade 6!). The children enjoy a snack while all the mats are pulled together. Then it's time for circle time and boy, is that energetic! The children have a fun story read to them and sing songs – the animal freeze dance song is a crowd favorite. If the weather allows, everyone heads outside to the playground after circle time to enjoy the sunshine; and if the weather is cold or rainy, parents are invited to bring a clean bike or trike and the kids have some fun riding around in the gym. The morning has been well received by all and is such a blessing for the community. Parents have reported that they love seeing their children interact with other kids. Kindergarten students have told their teacher with confidence that they know exactly where the gym is, as well as all the toys (and that very loud recess bell is not quite as scary anymore!). Relationships have been made as moms from different churches (we have five feeder churches at JCCS) enjoy conversation and fellowship. The Early Years mornings have created an opportunity to bring together the communion of saints and develop a love for our school, and what a blessing that is!...

Media bias

Dear Mainstream Media: 4 strikes and you’re out!

Like many of you, I grew up with the mainstream media being a part of our household. We got the Globe and Mail delivered daily; when they displayed too obvious a bias in favor of same-sex “marriage,” my dad switched to the National Post. We got TIME magazine weekly. When I moved out on my own for the first time – from Chilliwack to Calgary, Alberta – the first thing I did was get a subscription to a newspaper. But as the years went on, my “take it with a grain of salt” attitude to the mainstream media evolved into overt distrust. The feeble attempts at fairness largely disappeared, and brazen cheerleading for the movements destroying our society took its place. Strike 1: Hating babies One of the first breakdowns of trust between Christians and the press came with the issue of abortion. Christians view abortion for precisely what it is: an act of violence that ends the life of a developing human being. With only a few notable exceptions, the mainstream media in North America backed the abortion rights movement and opposed the pro-life movement. Dehumanizing language was deliberately used when referring to pre-born children. The issue, in most cases, was presented as a political struggle between the “pro-choice” movement and the pro-life movement, with the main characters – the pre-born babies at the center of the struggle – left entirely out. This bias has only grown exponentially, especially in the wake of Roe v. Wade’s overturn. The media deliberately misrepresents pro-lifers; it seeks to portray the movement in as negative a light as possible, and it actively ignores malfeasance on the pro-abortion side. I have read stories about people I know, in which I am quoted, that are obviously false. To read a story in the mainstream press about abortion is to see journalists assert, with complete confidence, that the baby in the womb is not, in fact, a baby. It is to read “fact-checkers” debunk objectively true claims on behalf of the abortion industry, and to see the pro-life movement portrayed as misogynists, religious fanatics, and, frequently, white supremacists. The mainstream media’s rule is “if it bleeds, it leads” – except when it comes to abortion. In fact, when David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress released bombshell videos in 2015, proving that the abortion industry was trafficking in baby body parts, the media promptly launched a massive investigation…into the Center for Medical Progress. The reality is that when you read a story about abortion in the media, it is almost certainly packed with disinformation and outright lies. Strike 2: Hyping hedonism It isn’t just abortion, of course. On virtually every issue, the mainstream press takes the side of the sexual revolutionaries – and when churches are covered by the media, it is almost always a story about a conflict between Christianity and the sexual revolution. It is not news that Christian institutions generally adhere to a Biblical view of sexuality, for example, but Canada’s state broadcaster and major newspapers treat us to an endless stream of breathless coverage reminding us of the fact. You have probably never heard about the community service work done by staff and students at Redeemer University. You probably have heard the stunning revelation that, as one CBC headline put it, this “private Christian university says no sex outside heterosexual marriage.” Progressive politicians and their media allies have put a lot of elbow grease into stereotyping conservative Christians, and it has been effective. While Christians are condemned for opposing an increasingly radical LGBT agenda, the press – especially Canada’s taxpayer-funded state broadcaster – has bent over backward to condemn parental rights, defend drag shows targeted at children, and justify a pornographic sex ed curriculum. Strike 3: Doubling down on death The same is true for the issue of euthanasia. With one exception – Andrew Coyne, who was then a columnist for the National Post and now writes for the Globe and Mail – the media was entirely in favor of legalization, and treated dissent as unworthy of coverage. I remember tuning into the CBC for a debate on euthanasia, only to discover that the debate was not between someone who opposed it and someone who supported it – it was between an advocate of the incoming law and a fellow who didn’t think it went far enough. In short order, the media wasn’t even calling it euthanasia or assisted suicide anymore – they’d switched the terminology to the sterile, soothing-sounding “medical aid in dying,” conveniently shortened to “MAID.” Only when the horror stories pro-lifers predicted began surfacing in rapid succession did some media outlets begin asking if we had perhaps “gone too far” – and none admitted that perhaps the pro-life advocates they’d ignored were correct. Strike 4: Celebrating castration But the nail in the coffin of the media’s credibility – not only amongst Christians, but in the broader public, as well – was their whole-hearted embrace of the transgender agenda. Prestigious media organizations with Pulitzer Prizes and foreign correspondents in a dozen countries began to publish articles with phrases such as “her penis” and “his breasts.” Scores of “human interest” stories about “pregnant men” – I’m not making that up – were (and are) published with full photo essays. The claims of the transgender movement on everything from suicidal ideation to the acceptability of subjecting gender dysphoric minors to double mastectomies and castration were accepted at face value, regardless of how ludicrous they were or how much contradictory evidence existed. Most damning were the countless stories about allegedly female criminals featuring photographs of ugly, snaggle-toothed men guilty of often horrifying violence against real women. Nearly all of them went viral, and the universality of the mockery was devastating for the media’s credibility. Trust in the press can survive mistakes – even catastrophic ones. But it is a different scenario entirely when the press consistently challenges its viewers and readers with obvious lies and asks them: “Who are you going to believe, us or your lying eyes?” I’ve even seen mainstream journalists such as Jonathan Kay (of Quillette and the National Post) make the observation on Twitter – the reason transgenderism is so toxic, he noted, is that “ isn’t just destroying trust in the educational/political elites when it comes to gender. It’s destroying trust, full stop. If elites…think waving a fairy wand turns boys into girls, what other crap do they believe?” Precisely. Over the past several decades, the mainstream press has revealed that it serves as the propaganda arm of the Sexual Revolution – and in the last ten years, it has abandoned reality entirely. You’re outta here This is undoubtedly a serious issue, because in the vacuum left behind, many people merely hunt for sources that back their preferred narrative on a given issue and independent platforms deliberately cater to this. I agree with the mainstream journalists who worry that the collapse of trust in the Fifth Estate is a huge problem. It just happens to be a problem of their own making. Jonathon Van Maren has written for the National Post, National Review, First Things, LifeSiteNews, and many other publications. He blogs at


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). ...

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