Archive for February, 2008

Bene’s blog summary on the Cadman affair Cadscam

Bene is offering up some good coverage on the allegations that the Cons tried to buy off Cadman.  Ahh yes, the noble Conservatives who were so outraged at the lack of accountability in the previous Liberal government.

I found this juicy bit in the comments on a Globe article.

Even if this was to support Mr. Cadman’s future campaign, as has been claimed, it is still rightly illegal.

‘Another form of bribery occurs when someone contributes to the electoral fund of a member in return for a contract or other benefit. Since all members of the House of Commons are elected, the funding of political parties and candidates is an important aspect of every election. Where contributions are made with the expectation of future advantage, the behaviour is dealt with in the Criminal Code. The Code prohibits anyone from giving any valuable consideration for the purpose of promoting the election of a candidate, or a party, to Parliament or to the legislature of a province in order to obtain or retain a contract with government[20].’

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There is no such thing as a perfect church?

When pointing out faults in the church one invariably receives a handful of different responses.  None of which adequately deal with the challenges put forward.

Reaction #1) There is no such thing as a perfect church

Reaction #2) God loves the church

Reaction #3) God is working in the church

Reaction #4) We should think more positively

What they are really saying

Reaction #1)

No change that we could attempt would result in anything significantly better than what we have so we might as well not bother trying.

Reaction #2)

God loves the church and has never been concerned with truth, justice or spiritual darkness in the world. 

Reaction #3)

We don’t have to worry about fruit in our lives because God is going to take care of it all.

Reaction #4)

Negative thinking gets people critical and depressed, if we think positively and apply enough energy in this direction everything will change.

My response #1)

We can be better, we are called to be better, we were better in the past, we are being held back by our lack of corporate and personal repentance.

My Response #2)

God also loves the world, the lost, the downtrodden, the oppressed, the outcast and we expects us to love whom he loves not spending most of our time entertaining ourselves.

My response #3)

God is always working but we are not responding, if we continue to serve ourselves in comfort we miss the opportunity to work with God to bring light and truth.

My response #4)

Read Jeremiah.  Read Matthew 23.  Read Revelation. Read all the parables about producing fruit, or earning talents, or the difference between sheep and goats.  We are called to make a difference, how can we know we are making a difference if we can’t honestly evaluate ourselves.

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Good Bye Larry

Larry Norman died of heart failure on Sunday.  Larry was genuine and honest.  He wasn’t afraid to sing about the darkness and pain in his life.  Those two things alone put him miles above what passes for contemporary Christian music in these days. You will be missed Larry.  I guess we got to learn to live without you.

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Windows Live Writer Rocks

I just installed windows Live Writer with some sort of upgrade to MSN/Live Messenger.  Live Writer is a great blog editor.  All I had to do was put the url of my blog in the system and my username and password.  I could open old posts.  What was really cool is that I could insert a picture in to the editor and when I published the post it published the image along with it!

Live Writer supports MT, WordPress, Blogger and others.

If you run Windows you can download it here.

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This is too cute: A 3 year old explains Star Wars

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What if we got it all wrong?

Tell me something… what if we’ve got it all wrong? The church thing I mean…

What if church is not supposed to be about "worship"? What then?

What if music is supposed to play a minor role and not a major one (excuse the pun).

What if God doesn’t care for self-focussed, romantic lyrics sung to boomer, 1980s, soft pop music…

What if we have moved so far from what church is supposed to be that Jesus no longer sees His Bride in us?

What if I’m being extreme…?


What if I’m not…?

Read the rest here.

No Comments the online office suite

If you like google docs you’ll love Zoho. Zoho is an online office suite with some great applications. The Zoho notebook rivals Microsoft OneNote. I’ve been doing a fair bit of research lately and I’m storing it all in a zoho notebook. There is an extension I can download for Firefox to integrate my browser with the notebook which makes getting content in to the notebook really easy. Google also has a notebook but it doesn`t have the same functionality. It also has an online wordprocessor which can integrate with MS Word or OpenOffice. To add to this it also has spreadsheets, project management, crm, task management, wikis, calendar, presentations, chat, planner, web conferencing, and databases.

While it has lots of stuff a google account does not there are things it lacks that I use pretty regularly with my google account like gmail, google reader (RSS reader). They are working on an email client but it is in private beta. The calender doesn’t to be as mature but the addition of tasks is nice touch.

I really like how fast the applications run they seem to be very well designed.

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U.S. headed for fiscal crisis

Check out this video from the United States Government Accountability Office.  The total long term obligations of the U.S. government amount to $375,000 for each full-time employee in the United States.  One of the major problems is the US has government funded health care for seniors with an excessively expensive health care system.  In three years the first of the "boomer" generation turns 65 and will start to tax the system. 

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The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse

One of the best books I’ve read this year is 15 years old. The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse should be required reading for anyone involved in ministry. Reading through the stories was like a journey in to my own past. The authors do a great job of debunking the biblical misinterpretations that serve as the doctrinal foundation for abusive religious systems.

The book is very valuable in how it reveals the negative impact of manipulation and false spiritual authority. The authors truly understand grace and freedom in Christ. They demonstrate how the tactics and methods churches often use to get people to behave well ultimately damage them and bar them from the kingdom of God. To illustrate the different kinds of dysfunction in church leadership they use examples of the pharisees in Matthew 23.

I think it is excellent reading for anyone in spiritual leadership. The pressure to find religious success can sometimes tempt leaders to manipulate others in to commitment they wouldn’t make other wise. It could be a commitment to give money or time or behave a certain way. In this situation people can become pawns sacrificed for the greater cause. The people begin to exist for the ministry rather than the ministry existing for the people. The book provides an important reminder that each person has value and should be treated as such with full respect for their freedom in Christ.

The book confronts the religious systems that prop up spiritually abusive leaders. If you have been spiritually abused by someone this book will help you sort out your experience. If you are a spiritual leader this book will help you understand how best treat the a greatest asset the church has, its people.

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The joys of OpenOffice

I’ve really enjoyed using OpenOffice/StarOffice lately. I discovered that like other great open source projects they have extensions. StarOffice is built upon OpenOffice but has some commercial add-ons. Normally you have to pay $80 for StarOffice but you can get it free in the Google Pack. I’ve installed a number of the extensions including the blog publisher, google docs import/export, writers tools and professional templates. All but one of those extensions is free. The next version of OpenOffice will include most of these extensions and an Outlook replacement.

I really like OpenOffice for blogging because it generates very clean HTML. Lots of my clients type up changes to their website in MS Word and then paste it in to the content editor. This can cause so much grief when trying to format content correctly because MS includes all kinds of junk when content from Word is converted to HTML.

I have to give credit where it is due. Microsoft has a really great product in Office 2007. I’d love to see OpenOffice jazz up the interface as Microsoft has done. Office 2007 is expensive especially if you want anything other than the basic package. There is one compelling new software program in the suite called OneNote. For students, teachers and writers it is an excellent program for taking notes and recording research. It however is only found in two different versions. The truncated but modestly affordable Home and Student version and the Ultimate version. This is really, really annoying because I’d love to pick it up for the faculty at the college.