Archive for June, 2004

Paul Martin favours child porn?

Paul Martin favours child porn?


From the Toronto Star

The federal election campaign took on a bizarre and ugly tone today, after the Conservative camp accused, then hastily withdrew, the suggestion that Liberal Leader Paul Martin was in favour of child pornography.

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This makes me ill. 

Update: Apparently they accuse the NDP of the same thing.

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$80 000 000 for a conference?

$80 000 000 for a conference?


At Bethany a poster went up advertisting the Leadership Summit 2004 Conference.  I’ve never been to an official WCA conference.  I’m tempted to go and invite Becky so she can give the conference a thorough rhetorical analysis.  I looked up the price and it would be about $250 for me to go.  They expect 40 000 people.  As I consider the numbers, the different prices, Canadian currency I’m guessing they are going to pull in about 80 million USD for that conference.  I’m not going to launch in to some self-righteous tirade about how that money could be spent on some other cause, but it does say something about church leadership today.  Where your treasure is, that is where your heart is.

As I looked at the promo it appeared that the conference would have what I might have called the ‘Promise Keeper effect’.  10 years ago when PK conferences were all the rage lots of people I knew would go fill a stadium somewhere and come back pumped and primed, ready to be a man.  I asked many of them what they actually learned, and most couldn’t articulate anything that they learned, they were just pumped.  Within 2-3 weeks the effect wore off.  I can’t say WCA or Promise Keeper conferences are devoid of substance but what draws people back is the experience, the rally.  It is completely evident in the promo.  The high profile energetic speakers, the fast paced entertainment, high quality music, the sense of inspired against all odds momentum.  There are promotional testimonials talk about how the conference is a blast off to the new year.  It is strategically timed 2 weeks before traditional church “kick-offs” in September.

I imagine that you could probably learn as much from reading a few books and passing them around.  So what do you think motivates people to go?

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I really hope the Green Party does well

I really hope the Green Party does well


A lot of Canadians are increasingly concerned about the environment and would like some real leadership on this issue.  Who do you vote for if you want a non-socialist party who cares about the environment?  Up until now you voted Liberal and saw more hope for action than real action.  In comes the Green Party with a reasonable fiscal plan and a high prioirty for the environment.  I’ll admit that most of their candidates look like they walked out of Neil Young concert and their candidates are probably more left-wing than their platform lets on, but I really really hope they do well.  If I were in a riding where I didn’t like the 2 front runners I would vote Green just to give them a $1.75 and some more exposure.  I can’t say I’d be disappointed if the Greens completely edge out the NDP.  At 5% in the polls I really think they should have been in the debate.

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Words or Power: What fuels the church?

Words or Power: What fuels the church?


A paper that I’ve been working on for far too long is in the final stages of completion.  I’ve sent it off to some of my closest friends for review before I hand it in.  I’ll post the final version.  I think it reflects a lot of where I am at with church and theology.  I interact with the biblical text a lot.  I don’t use a lot of outside sources.  Most scholarship on 1st Corinthians before Bruce Winter’s “Philo and Paul among the Sophists” was kind off base and that is a fairly recent work. 

The paper takes a look what fuels influence, leadership and change in the church.  Paul was all about inner character transformation empowered by the Holy Spirit.  For Paul leadership was preaching an irrelevant or foolish gospel and connecting people with God.  The Corinthians turned to rhetoric, eloquence and persuasion.  Leadership was using eloquence to build status and gather a following. 

 In the paper it would be easy to see I hold Paul the Apostle in high esteem.  At times I might seem “postmodern” but really I am more of an anabaptist.  I come to an ominous conclusion.  If the gospel is the power of God to those being saved, and we aren’t being truly changed, then either Paul is wrong, or we got the gospel wrong. 

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Good article on budget promises

Good article on budget promises


This article summarizes some of my thoughts pretty well.

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Who won the debate?

Who won the debate?


One thing I’ve learned about debates.  We all have our own perspective.  I looked at that debate and saw the following.

  •  Harper was timid and failed to communicate a passion for the country like Joe Clark or Jean Charest did in the last 2 debates.  At the same time he looked calm, intelligent, and he didn’t look scary and that definitely keeps him in the game.
  • Jack Layton didn’t know when to shut up.  He had very little substance, and he sounded like a commercial on repeat.
  • Gilles Duceppe is actually really smart and had the best one liners in the debate.  I think he may have talked over the heads of many Canadians.
  • Paul Martin fended off the attacks well.  He conveyed the most advanced understanding of how government works.  I’m a little worried about his remark about how he could have swept things under the table.  It’s true he could have, Chretien did before, and if he were around the Liberals would be winning this election.  I believe Paul Martin is more honest and transparent than Chretien. 

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My apologies

My apologies


Up until a few weeks ago I wrote mostly about church, culture, theology and my personal life.  Lately it has been much more about politics.  Probably boring for a lot of people.  Take courage, the election is almost over and my team is losing.  Sad to say but true. The guy I’m working for is doing well and probably still has a narrow lead.  It has been fun so far, but there isn’t much more for me to do.

However, politics hasn’t completely dominated my mind.  I’m just about done a big paper that I probably should had finished a year ago.  When I finish this thing I will officially graduate, and will have made my first small book.  This thing is over 40 pages long.  I will be sharing it in pieces on my blog over the next few weeks. 

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Could the implosion be near?

Could the implosion be near?


I’ll be the first to admit that much of the stuff being said about Harper isn’t true.  I don’t think women concerned about abortion rights have anything to fear.  It would be very difficult to outlaw abortion in this country because of how the courts interpret the charter of rights and freedoms.  Any government would likely have to use the nothwithstanding clause, and that would be political suicide. 

While Harper isn’t scary there are other people in his party that aren’t terribly bright.  It wasn’t that long ago one Alliance MP (who is not in the party now), wanted to outlaw homosexuality.  The incumbent in my riding put out a flyer proclaiming he was still comitted to “Reform Values”.  It is these people that make it difficult for the Conservatives to win.

The press, which had given Harper an easy ride in the first week has now turned on him.  A former alliance director has thrown his support behind the Liberals.  Mayors from across the country are telling people not to vote for Harper.  A handful of PCs endorsed landslide Annie in Edmonton.  I think that we are in for a real race to the end.

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You had an option, sir.

You had an option, sir


The leaders debates are coming up and I am excited.  I love these things.  They can be so funny.  The CBC has video clips posted from old debates.  Yes, the 1984 Mulroney-Turner exchange on appointments is on there.  They have 2000 with Jean, Stockwell, Gilles, Alex and Joe!  Jean Chretien can be so freaking funny sometimes.  I really like watching the leader of the Bloc because he has absolutely nothing to lose in the English debate.  I am pumped!

What is going to happen this year?  I think it will be open season on Paul Martin and there is the possibility he will blow it.  It could be John Turner 20 years later.  Paul Martin comes across very well intelligent and knowledgable when he is calm in a normal discussion.  He tends to fumble when he is under pressure.  I don’t think that makes him a bad PM at all, but it certainly isn’t a strength in a debate.  The key for Martin is to give as good as he gets.  Chretien didn’t convince anyone to vote Liberal in 2000.  He experienced a similar feeding frenzy, and sometimes his answers didn’t make sense.  But he gave as good as he got and things balanced out in the end.  The only person who gained from that debate was Joe Clark.

Jack Layton stands to gain a lot.  Particularly if the Liberals implode.  Harper is very good in a debate and stands to gain a lot.  He will have to face some tough questions from the NDP and the Liberals.  Jack Layton doesn’t want to a see a Conservative victory so he will probably split his focus. 

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Conservative platform will put government in deficit–report

Conservative platform will put government in deficit–report


From the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

When the impacts of the Conservative platform are added to the status-quo base case, the party would run a cumulative deficit of $11.4 billion over five years. In implementing their platform promises, the Conservatives would run annual deficits of $0.7, $3, $4 and $5.6 billion.

There are some economists that think the Conservative plan is feasible, but would require significant cuts that they aren’t talking about right now.  I think it is foolish for any government to spend every bit of surplus they expect.  What family would spend every cent they expect to get from a raise in the future? 

If Conservative projections are wrong we are back to where we were in the 80’s racking up deficits and mortgaging the country’s future.  

Health care, education, and the military are underfunded because we spend a generous portion of our tax dollars on debt interest.  The only way we will ever get Canada back to the place where we can fund all these things properly is to be debt free.  We can’t get there without a realistic and achievable plan for spending and debt reduction.  The Liberal plan is very realistic and it has built in safeguards for emergency spending.  What they plan to do, and have been doing isn’t very exciting but step by step they are digging Canada out of deep hole.

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