Archive for September, 2008


Check out the latest on how the Conservatives have cleaned up government.

They didn’t include the broken promise to Saskatchewan on equalization.

[update] Uh oh…..whooops

[upperdate] Find the poop here..

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Environmental Ethics and Slavery

A few hundred years ago there was a debate in many western countries about slavery.  On one side you had the reformers.  At the beginning they were the radical fringe that argued that all people had inherent value and worth because they were made in the image of God.  On the other side there was the pro-slavery camp that had a mountain of biblical evidence to justify the practice of slavery.  There is nothing in scripture that condemns slavery.  Scripture just moderates it, sets rules for it.  These abolitionist reformers were accused of undermining the authority of scripture.

Today we look back and see the debate as utterly foolish.  Slavery is regarded as a reprehensible practice and there is no question in our mind about its legitimacy.  A couple hundred years can provide some good hindsight.  While we find the very idea of slavery abhorrent there were thousands upon thousands of Christians that saw no conflict with following Christ and keeping slaves.  It was the culture they lived in.  When your grandfather had slaves, and your father had slaves then you think nothing of owning slaves.  As a society we have ways of hiding ourselves from the consequences of our actions.  We prefer to keep the deep and troubling questions about our responsibility to humanity in the back of our mind.  If we brought them to the foreground then we know we would have to honestly grapple with them.

In a hundred years people will look at our petty debates about the environment and see them as utter foolishness.  Just as many believed that owning slaves was benign we think unlimited consumption is benign.  The truth is our impact on the environment results in dire consequences for millions of people.  The truth is our over-consumption of limited resources drives up the price of everything making things even more difficult for the poor.  It is time for us to face reality just as the slave owners of yesteryear faced the reality of the consequences of their actions.

How are we all responsible? 

The parable of the well and the wealthy homeowners.

A number of wealthy homeowners lived in a small town with a limited number of wells.  Because they had more money they could buy up most of the water available from the well.  They used it to fill up their pools, water lush lawns and golf courses.  If everyone wanted to use as much water as the wealthy homeowners the well would need to be four times as large.  Because of this most other people in the town could only afford to buy water to drink and wash themselves.  The poorest people could barely afford that so they supplemented with dirty water from ponds and roofs.  The wealthy homeowners noticed this and created programs to give gifts of water and provide low interest loans. 

The town grew bigger and so did the water requirements.  When some of the previously poor homeowners because more wealthy they wanted to live like the wealthy homeowners.  They started using hot tubs, slip and slides, and gardens.  This increased demand and drove the price of water up so high it impacted discretionary spending.  Some of the wealthy homeowners decided to cut back but other decided that their way of life was non-negotiable and become belligerent and forcibly took over some of the wells in the town. 

In the end many more people started running short of water. The water table dropped so low the wells couldn’t produce as much as they did before.  The result was widespread shortages and misery. 

There is a strong connection between our unrelenting consumption the oppression and marginalization of the world’s poor.  We are like players at an auction with the biggest pocket book bidding up the price of all the best items. 

The problem doesn’t stop with resources.  The word’s scientific community is about 90% sure that greenhouse gas emissions are warming the planet.  The impact of which is sea level change, loss of animal habit, species loss, ocean acidification, increased droughts and floods and increased hurricane intensity.  All of these things have started.  Some argue that until the science is 100% settled we shouldn’t act because it would impact our economy.  Tell that to the people of small island nations slowly watch their homeland sink in to the sea, or the farmer in Australia in the midst of a horrible year over year drought, or the poor family in Cuba who might still have a home if the last hurricane was only a Category 2 instead of the Category 4 that ripped up their island. 


We could change.  We could decide that we don’t need all this stuff and learn live with an equitable share.  We don’t need to drive in urban assault vehicles.  We don’t need to fly across the world for conferences or “mission” vacations (I’ve done both).  Two people don’t need 2000 sq/ft of living space.  If we were to give up a slice of our discretionary income and live more modestly we could moderate the impact of a system that shuts out most vulnerable.  We could transition to a lifestyle where everyone has equal shot.  There will always be disparities between the haves and the have-nots.  That will never be completely solved because sometimes people are poor because of poor judgement.  What we can change is systemic challenges in our global society that make it more difficult for people to live happy, healthy rewarding lives.

The theme of justice for the poor and the oppressed is very strong in scripture, especially the prophets. 

Isa 58:6-7  ESV “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?

At one time an evangelical was a moral force behind the abolition of slavery in British Empire.  A Baptist minister wan was a moral force in the American civil rights movement.  To gain relevance the church must stop hiding itself from its own “flesh” and once again.  If we were willing to change, to sacrifice we could be a positive moral force in the world.

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May excluded from the debates

I’m pretty discouraged with this election.  There is no good reason to keep the Green’s out of the debates.  Smiling Jack and Steady Stephen said they would boycott the debates if the Greens were included and the networks caved.  I’m pretty disgusted with the Conservatives and the NDP. 


Bene’s got a new ride

Watch out everyone Bene’s got dualies. 


Downtown Grocery Store for Saskatoon?!

This is some sweet news.  There is potential for a grocery store to in the main floor of the renovated King George hotel building.  Saskatoon is study in contrasting visions of urban planning.  Downtown we are seeing more and more mixed use residential/retail and reclamation of old poorly used buildings.  The recent additions of the River Landing, Persephone Theatre, and the Galaxy Theatre have made downtown a real destination spot.  The purposed River Landing Village and River Green Ecovillage will add more mixed use live/work/play areas.  Add to this the Farmers Market and you have a really incredible place developing.   A place where you could live, play and work without a car.

The other side of Saskatoon is the unsustainable sprawl of McMansions, big box retail, and uninspiring condos. 

One of these visions has a future and the other does not. 

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18 year old kids have retarded email addresses

I just spent a couple of hours plugging 150 college aged kids email addresses in to a system.  One of the great failings of this generation is that they get their email addresses when they about 12.  6 years later they are still running with things like or

Please google, rescue them from their madness.


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Google Chrome

While initially lacking the add-on support of Firefox it is a blazingly fast browser.  I imagine it would be very well suited to use with web apps like google docs and gmail.

Download it here.

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Conservatives Stand Up for Fixed Elections

The Globe has a great little feature with all the Conservatives who spoke up about the fairness of the fixed election date law.

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