Archive for September, 2007

I really like this song

Click here to listen to “The Pretender” by the Foo Fighters (after a commercial).Some lyrics

Keep you in the dark
You know they all pretend
Keep you in the dark
And so it all began

Send in your skeletons
Sing as their bones go marching in… again
The need you buried deep
The secrets that you keep are at the ready
Are you ready?
I’m finished making sense
Done pleading ignorance
That whole defense

Spinning infinity, boy
The wheel is spinning me
It’s never-ending, never-ending
Same old story

What if I say I’m not like the others?
What if I say I’m not just another one of your plays
You’re the pretender
What if I say I will never surrender?

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14 billion dollar surplus!

Canada posts a 14 billion dollar surplus! As much as I’m not a conservative I have to give credit where it is due. That is a lot of money we can throw against the debt. I’m glad we haven’t given up on climbing our way out the hole Trudeau and Mulroney put us in. I was a little worried with all that spending. At least we aren’t continuing to dig like some other countries with dollars worth less than ours (hee hee).

Wasn’t it Harper that complained so loudly that the Liberals were posting these unexpected huge surpluses? I wonder how much of an income tax cut we will get.

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Peak blogs

Given the average lifespan of a blogger and the current growth rate of blogs, Gartner says blogging has probably peaked.

From Christianity Today

First there was Peak Oil and now there is Peak Blogs. We’re all doomed, it’s game over, it’s game over!

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I’m tired of arrogant atheists

After following a mind numbing thread on another blog I’d like to vent a little bit of the steam that has accumulated in my mind. I’ve known a lot of people that don’t have any particular religious faith. Some would even call themselves atheists. They usually have a live and let live outlook and everything is fine.

It is the Christian converts to atheism that bug me. It isn’t because they offer all these compelling arguments that undermine my religious assumptions. It is because they think they do when they don’t. They become very adept at deconstructing their previous religious thought assuming that all there is to know about Christianity or religion is what they experienced. In many cases that experience is a shallow, anti-intellectual form of evangelicalism.

From what I’ve observed in online communities like Digg some proponents of atheism exhibit the same kinds of tendencies of the religious fundamentalists they ridicule. I observed one video where their vaulted idol Mr. Dawkins was stumped by a question asked by a creationist. Eventually he gave an answer to a question that wasn’t asked. Immediately people started making accusations that the video footage was doctored. They just couldn’t deal with the possibility that one of those idiot creationists actually asked a question that Dawkins didn’t answer effectively. Much like many religious fundamentalists they become irrational when someone tries to deconstruct a piece of their worldview.

For me this isn’t evidence that Dawkins is wrong just that he is human. In another situation he might have come up with a very good response. The video may have been doctored for all I know. My point is that people couldn’t handle the notion their man could be wrong.

There is a garden variety atheism that provides a crutch much in the same way religion can be a crutch. Instead of believing in a supernatural deity they believe in the intellectual superiority of their position and that gives their life meaning. They are better because they smarter. Their purpose switched from serving God to rescuing themselves and others from destructive religious myths. What I never understand is why they have to perpetually revisit the issue. If I gave up on Christianity I’d just carry on with my life with a few less moral inhibitions and leave it at that.

In this brand of atheism I see fundamentalists switching their fundamentals but remaining largely in the same old trappings of dead religion. The ideology changes but the insulation, fear of change, sense of arrogance, and unwillingness to any credence to any evidence outside their chosen realm of knowledge is all the same.

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Great new website on the Global Warming Skeptics

Check out Skeptical Science for more debunking of popular Global Warming Skeptic arguments. John Cook is a web programmer who followed a similar journey to mine. Here is a bit of his story.

My interest in global warming began when I drew a cartoon spoof of the TV show 24 that wondered what Jack Bauer would do if Al Gore was President and global warming was the “threat du jour”. I watched An Inconvenient Truth for research which I found thought provoking although I didn’t know what to make of all the science.

I then got into some discussions with a family member and diehard skeptic who handed me a speech by Senator Inhofe. It was fairly light on actual science but some research revealed the arguments were misleading and flawed which surprised me – I thought such a prominent spokesman for global warming skeptism would’ve done his homework more thoroughly.

Since then, I’ve scoured the original peer reviewed studies in an attempt to get past the political agendas and cherry picking. When I think I’ve worked out the truth of a particular issue, I find websites and blogs that hold the opposite view and present my case. This kind of vigorous discussion is an ideal way to highlight any flaws in my logic and gaps in my research. I’ve come to the conclusion that global warming is being driven by manmade CO2 emissions but I hope to be wrong and research each skeptic argument, in a strange way hoping to be convinced by it. I’m still yet to meet a skeptic argument that is even vaguely convincing.

I’ve noticed two patterns in global warming skepticism. Firstly, many reasons for disbelieving in anthroporphic global warming (AGW) seems to be political rather than scientific. Eg – it’s all a liberal plot to spread socialism and destroy capitalism (or sometimes just plain dislike for Al Gore). As one person put it, “the cheerleaders for doing something about global warming seem to be largely the cheerleaders for many causes of which I disapprove”.

But beneath the politics is a more elemental instinct – an aversion to alarmism. We’ve been burnt before. The media predicted an ice age in the 70′s which never eventuated. Y2K was going to destroy society – it was barely a hiccup. And I won’t deny there are alarmists in the global warming camp. Urgent cries that the ice sheets are on the verge of sliding into the sea. Hysteric predictions that Manhattan will soon be underwater. Or emotional pleas to save those cute little polar bears. Sadly, alarmists seem to be the loudest voices in the global warming debate. But that doesn’t change the science underneath.

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My view on the church has changed

My view on the church has changed and it hopefully it will continue to change. Whatever regular readers I have left will have noticed that my attention has moved on my the emerging church scene to things like the environment. Could the whole emerging church thing be a just another fad that captured my attention? I think the answer is yes and no but more yes than no.

There are real problems in the church today. It was nice being part of a conversation that acknowledged that. However the purposed solutions are geared more towards disaffected church people than making a difference in the world. That isn’t entirely bad as there are a lot of disaffected Christians out there who have a real difficult time with conventional churches. The sad truth is the conversation has more depth in its critique than in its solutions. It has more success in creating buzz through conferences, books and new media than making a measurable impact in the world. For the vast amount of people who really just want to reinvent church for themselves this is adequate.

What does it really mean to be faithful in the 21st century. A few centuries ago slavery was accepted as normal in the church. Until a hundred years ago women were considered inferior to men inside and outside the church. Eventually someone discovers there is an inconsistency between our accepted cultural norms and God’s heart on the matter. We don’t see it because we are a part of that culture.

If in the 19th century slavery was the issue and in the 20th century gender equality was the issue what is the 21st century issue? I think it is our individualistic consumer driven living that is destroying our environment and creating injustice throughout the world by proxy. If everyone in the world lived like we did in North America we would need 4 planets full of resources to sustain us. In order to maintain our standard of living we must gobble up the natural resources of the developing world. This creates the impetus for governments and corporations to use violence and oppression to ensure there is supply for our ever increasing demand. It provides an economic incentive to ignore the environmental impact of our activities. It leads us to borrow in order to acquire more and more material things.

Reality is about to hit. The one resource we use to make this all happen is in increasingly short supply. Hydrocarbon energy in the form of oil and natural gas has enabled us unparalleled growth and economic expansion. Unfortunately the easy times of the oil era are about to end. The North American supply of oil and natural gas is in decline. The world supply of conventional oil probably peaked in 2005 and the world supply of all liquid energy sources is coming soon. Not far behind it is world production of natural gas.

Petrochemicals play a central role in transportation, heating, materials, and agriculture. Most chemical fertilizers are made from natural gas and pesticides/herbicides are made with oil. Trying to imagine a world with a declining and increasingly expensive supply of oil and natural gas is mind boggling. The ramifications of this reality are so broad and so far reaching it makes questions about mega-churches or seeker services seem silly. For the church to have relevance in this era it needs to model a different approach. It has to be willing to pay more for goods that were created with methods that are environmentally sustainable and under fair trade conditions. It has to be willing to pay more for renewable energy. The people have to be willing to forgo their purchase of the next gadget. Ultimately we will need to become a community that cares and shares with each other. Not only must the sacrifice impact our wallets but our strident individualism must also be left at the alter.

The way of Christ includes the way of sacrifice. Sacrifice in order to bring spiritual reconciliation to a broken world and sacrifice to promote peace and justice.

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Neighbourhood Renewal

It has been almost a year since Carol and I bought our first house in the inner-city neighbourhood of Caswell Hill. Now I almost hesitate to say we are in the “inner city.” We are probably one of the longer term residents on our side of the street. Our house was one of 6 that changed hands since last October. All but one of these houses was not occupied by the owners and now all of them are occupied by their owners.

One of my neighbours fled as soon as he could get a price for his house and they moved out shortly after we moved in. He told me the area wasn’t quiet enough for him. Initially I could see why. There was a lot of pedestrian traffic and a number of those pedestrians didn’t look like fine upright citizens. 15 minutes after I decided the last condition was to be removed from our offer I saw someone arrested by the phone booth outside a small grocery store about 100 ft from our house.

This summer I watched people file in and out of a two story drug house visible from my veranda. The house has no real yard to speak of. The upper suite was where the commercial activity occurred. All day long people walked to the rear of the house and ascended a poorly constructed wood covered external stairway. They would reappear a few minutes later. Most the dealer’s clients were on foot. Some were probably prostitutes based on how they were dressed.

I saw the police raid the house twice. A neighbourhood kid with his own sad past came over to chat while the dealer was being arrested. I commented on how long it took. My young friend began to explain to me that it can take a long time to get arrested. I told him that I wouldn’t know as I had never been arrested. He didn’t believe me. Apparently in his world everyone gets arrested eventually.

The drug house is now boarded up. It has been deemed unsafe for human occupation. This is the last of the drug houses that were in operation around my house not so long ago. The landlords have kicked out the tenants and sold the homes for a profit. There is a visible decrease in the amount of interesting looking people walking around.

This is all fine and good as far as property values and safety goes. I wonder where all the renters have moved to. As Caswell Hill appreciates in value most of the properties would need to be rented at $1200 a month to make the payments on a mortgage and pay the property taxes.

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The Saskparty strikes back

I have to admit they did a good job on this ad.

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