Archive for June, 2007

Do you think God could speak to you through Avril?

Do you think God could speak to you through Avril?


Sounds strange but I think it happened to me this week.  I was just about in tears.

Keep Holding On

You’re not alone
Together we stand
I’ll be by your side
You know I’ll take your hand
When it gets cold
And it feels like the end
There’s no place to go
You know I won’t give in
no I won’t give in

Keep holdin’ on
‘Cause you know we’ll make it through
We’ll make it through
Just, stay strong
‘Cause you know I’m here for you
I’m here for you
There’s nothing you can say (nothin’ you can say)
Nothing you can do (nothin’ you can do)
there’s no other way when it comes to the truth
So, keep holding on
‘Cause you know we’ll make it through
We’ll make it through

So far away
I wish you were here
Before it’s too late
This could all disappear
Before the doors close
And it comes to an end
With you by my side
I will fight and defend (ah ah)
I’ll fight and defend (ah ah) yeah yeah

Keep holdin’ on
‘Cause you know we’ll make it through
We’ll make it through
Just, stay strong
‘Cause you know I’m here for you
I’m here for you
There’s nothing you can say
Nothing you can say
Nothing you can do
nothing you can do
There’s no other way when it comes to the truth
So, keep holding on
‘Cause you know we’ll make it through
We’ll make it through

Hear me when I say
When I say I believe
Nothing’s gonna change
Nothing’s gonna destiny
Whatever’s meant to be
Will work out perfectly
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah….

La da da da, la da da da da
La da da da da da da da da

Keep holdin’ on
‘Cause you know we’ll make it through
We’ll make it through
Just stay strong
‘Cause you know I’m here for you
I’m here for you
There’s nothing you can say
nothing you can say
Nothing you can do
nothing you can do
There’s no other way when it comes to the truth
So, keep holding on
‘Cause you know we’ll make it through
We’ll make it through

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Harper beginning to unravel

Harper beginning to unravel


Harper is squandering an opportunity to show real leadership on the Atlantic Accord.  Newfoundland and Nova Scotia feel they have a right to their non-renewable resource revenue.  In 2004 Harper agreed with them. 

 

"Why should Newfoundland’s possibility of achieving levels of prosperity comparable to the rest of Canada be limited to an artificial eight year period? ? Why is the government so eager to ensure that Newfoundland and Labrador always remain below the economic level of Ontario? The Ontario clause is unfair and insulting to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, and its message to that province, to Nova Scotia and to all of Atlantic Canada is absolutely clear. They can only get what they were promised if they agree to remain have-not provinces forever."

Via Coyne

Later on reality dawns on Mr. Harper and he tries to weasel out of his promises.  He changes the rules so that NS and NFLD can keep their resource revenues, he just won’t give them what he is giving all the other provinces to fix the so called "fiscal imbalance".  He technically keeps his promise but effecitvely nullifies any actual benefit NFLD and NS get out of the deal and he betrays the position he claimed to hold to.  In the words of Andrew Coyne he played Atlantic Canada for "suckers".

Instead of principled leadership we see rhetorical games, threats of lawsuits and devious tricks all while claiming innocence. John Ivison writes:

There is no doubt that the Conservatives have broken another promise. Yet, as in the decision to tax income trusts, they could have made a convincing case that they were doing so for the good of the country, in order to put equalization back on a principled basis after Paul Martin’s unprincipled vote-grab.

Despite having the highest debt per capita in the country, neither Nova Scotia nor Newfoundland and Labrador can expect the taxpayers of Ontario to keep shovelling cash eastward to provinces that are bringing in more revenue per head than their own government.

The question is – armed with such a compelling case – how has the Prime Minister contrived to come across like a schoolyard bully, threatening lawsuits against all dissenters?

Conservative MPs, staffers and supporters are united in their condemnation of the way the issue has been handled by the Prime Minister’s Office. "The people in PMO communications meant to help MPs understand the audience don’t get them. They don’t get the pride, the passion and the tribalism of the East," said one source.

"Dropping a sledgehammer on two of the provinces that endorsed you at the last election is not exactly the way to say ‘thank you’ on a file that clearly touches a chord in Atlantic Canada," said another senior Conservative.

This government’s obsession with secrecy and control will be its downfall. The Conservative party has a front-bench overflowing with natural communicators and a strong story to tell, yet it seems either reluctant or unable to do so. It takes a real organizational talent to fritter away that advantage.

 Now my own provincial government has decided to take up Harper’s offer and sue the federal government!  Most of our Conservative Saskatchewan MP’s can’t bring themselves to admit Harper broke his promise to Saskatchewan.  My MP seems to be the exception!  While I don’t agree with a side deal for Saskatchewan either Harper played us for suckers by saying we were underfunded due to the fiscal imbalance and that we deserved to keep our natural resource revenues.  When the budget comes down he offers to solve one problem or the other.  Yet another case of an opposition politician over promising and under delivering when they get in government.  It has happened before and it  will happen again.  Unfortunately your typical Conservative voter can only remember betrayals on programs with three letters like GST or NEP.

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Watership Down

Watership Down


I just started reading Mike Frost’s Exiles. In it Mike tells the story of Watership Down has significance for the church. The family watched the movie last weekend and I can see what he is getting at. The movie starts with a creation account told from a rabbit’s point of view. Next we see a prophetic rabbit receive a revelation of impending doom for his community of rabbits. He tries to warn the leader of their community but is ignored. Despite this he manages to convince a number to follow him out in search of new home. The journey is perilous as the rabbits are exposed to predators and other dangers. The rabbits have to fight their instinct to hunker down and hide and keep to familiar terrain. In the end the small group of rabbits find a new home and human land developers destroy their old home leaving almost no survivors.

At times I have felt like that prophetic rabbit. For years I’ve had a sense that something is wrong. The ground which we have built so many things upon is about to shift. I can’t say I know what it is going to happen but I think many of our organizations and institutions are vulnerable. Even something like an energy crisis could create some significant obstacles. How many people would still drive to church if gasoline was 3 dollars a litre?

I can see the comments now. “Leighton, are you saying all conventional churches should all become neighbourhood house churches because you had some divine brain fart about gas prices going up?” NO! I’m saying that if we build upon Jesus he is a rock and we will survive anything. If we are built upon systems like marketing, government programs, societal trends, or the marketplace we face a much more uncertain future. I feel uneasy about relying so much on things that can change.

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Strange theology among the charismatics

Strange theology among the charismatics


Over the last 10 years I’ve largely checked out of the charismatic movement even though I consider myself charismatic. Each time I peak back in to that world I a movement that is infested with aberrant theology and false teaching. One the problems that lies at the very root of many other problems is their solely literalist/spiritualist approach to scripture. They believe that too much theology quenches the spirit so they rarely engage in a more thoughtful approach to interpreting scripture.

The literalist approach sees the bible as a flat book. One verse is as applicable as any other and almost all of them should be applied directly in our context. Take for example this “promise” in scripture.

Jer 29:11 For I know what I have planned for you,’says the LORD. ‘I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope.

Who hasn’t had their heart warmed by hearing this promise of God on your life? The problem is it wasn’t promised to you or I, it was promised to Israel. Right after God had promised and delivered a foreign occupying army to lay waste to the land, take the best people captive and relocate them to another country. Funny how the context changes the meaning.

The historical/critical method of interpreting scripture is based around a thoughtful analysis of the context of scripture. Who wrote it? Why did they write it? Who did they write it too? What was the culture like when they wrote it? Which type of literature did they use? What was the political situation like? What has the author written before? What else has been written along similar themes? This method is largely the domain of scholars but it doesn’t have to be. It is possible to become lost in a sea of intellectualism while pursing approach but at a very basic level it is necessary. It forces us to see any portion of scripture in the light of the rest of the bible. Using this method it is easy to dispel things like spiritual mapping, covering theology or the prosperity gospel. The only way you can make a case for these theologies is to ignore scripture. It is very easy to ignore scripture when you get an idea in your head and look for verses to prove your point.

The other interpretive tool charismatics employ is the Spirit. They believe that God inspires the interpretation of scripture…usually through “anointed” leaders or through individual spiritual experience. They believe God inspires something and they find the proof in scripture. They believe this gives them a deeper understanding of God than other Christians.

While I certainly don’t disagree with the idea that the Holy Spirit inspires wisdom, knowledge and faithful reading of scripture, I believe this happens in a community. When we believe that we as an individual can divinely interpret scripture without a community we run the risk of serious self-deception. This is just as true for an “anointed” leader as it is for anyone else. Unfortunately very few groups know how to interpret scripture as a community. It is rare even among those who claim to hold to such a value.

The Spirit works through the body. Each person has their role and each is essential. Paul makes this very clear in 1Cor 12. When we take a task for the body and give it just one part it screws things up. God designed the church so we would need each other. We subvert that when we construct a pyramid with too much placed on a few people.

When I observe charismatics I see well meaning people swayed to and fro by every wind of doctrine. The isolation caused by their spiritual elitism doesn’t help. It is sad because in so many ways they believe they are the vanguard, they are ushering in the next big revival. Sadly many don’t realize that they have tricked themselves in to pursuing an ever revolving flavour of the week distracting them the simple and plain directives of proclaiming the gospel, repentance, promoting justice and loving their neighbour.

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