Saturday, January 31, 2004

From the Mouths of Babes

Children make statements that are cute, and statements that are embarassing, and statements that are funny. This one falls in the funny category, and interestingly enough, it isn't about my children. My friend Jamie was in town last weekend. As they were driving by "Bridlewood Community Church of the Nazarene", Jamie's son turns to his sister with shock and says, "I just saw a sign that said Bridlewood Church of the Nazgul." I haven't asked him what he thought of Return of the King. 8-)

Friday, January 30, 2004

Sears - the Saga Continues

Tonight I got a call from Sears Maintenance. They said that they had noticed I had cancelled the maintenance contract, and was anything wrong? I started to tell my story of why I had cancelled the contract and made it less than 10 seconds into my story when the lady interrupted me and asked me "Do you want the one year contract?" I said "No" and she said "Well if you decide you want it just give us a call."

When they phoned, I thought this was the people who focused on winning back accounts, but really it was just it was just the mindless droids in the maintenance agreement sales department (the same people who signed me up for the two year contract when what I agreed to was the one year contract).

I think tomorrow I'm going to call up and cancel my Sears card. I'll never buy a big ticket item from them again, so why bother having their card. Grrr!

Monday, January 26, 2004

Favourite Dessert

Tonight, Karen made White Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce. It is a recipe from Disney Magazine (they serve this at one of the Disney Resorts). Anyway, it's really good!

I sat down with the patent agent today. He had already prepared the rough draft of the application. So I think this one will go faster than the previous one. I think there is more interest in this idea (and in fact it is a better idea than my first one).

Thursday, January 22, 2004

A New Character in the Cast

For those who are eagerly awaiting the birth of our third child, please keep eagerly waiting. This is not a birth announcement. Rather, it is the introduction to a new character played by my children's father (i.e. me).

The character is named Scrofulious the Monster, and he shows every sign of becoming more popular than Edgar the Dragon. Scrofulious is shaped like a small brontosaurus, about 6 feet high. He is bright green, and speaks with a Peter Lorrie type of voice. He's a fearsome monster, and is well known for eating children's toes. But he lives in continual fear that the children will discover his deepest darkest secret - that he is afraid the children will eat his toes!

On the way home from AWANA tonight, the children told me that they love it when I'm jokey with them. When I started speaking like Scrofulious, they started cheering. Then we had some fun discussing what Scrofulious was going to put in the milkshake he was making for them tonight. The milkshake ended up fairly conventional, with the exception of some carmel sauce in a milkshake that was supposed to be chocolate. Still, with Scrofulious, you never know 8-)

Supper Table, etc.

The other day, Karen made one of her GREAT roast chicken dinners. It was an herb roasted chicken with mashed potatos and gravy, and several types of vegetables. But what made the meal unforgetable was Joel's commentary. He held up a drumstick and said, "A couple of days ago this chicken was walking along and somebody shot it." That's my boy!

At work I was booked to sit down with a patent agent for my second idea. That means they'll be filing in a couple of weeks. I can't say what the idea is until the filing is complete, but in my opinion it is a much better idea than my first, and has the potential to generate some real money for my company.

For those who live outside the Ottawa Valley, I should give an update on the weather. It's been cold. I know, it's Canada; it's supposed to be cold. Some cultures have great cuisine, some cultures have dance and art, and some cultures have a history of ancient writings and wisdom. This is Canada. Our cultural heritage is snow and bitter cold. How cold is "bitter cold" you ask? Wind chill of -44 degrees Celcius. Cover up, because unprotected flesh freezes in a couple of minutes.

My Sunday School class wants to learn about Bible Prophecy. I've bought copies of "What Next - A Primer on Prophecy" by Ed Harlow, and I plan to make a prophecy chart with them. After that, we plan to watch a couple of "Left Behind" movies and critique them from a Biblical viewpoint.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

A Busy Saturday

It was a busy day. We finished up with Christmas (i.e. we took down the Christmas tree and packaged up the last Christmas present we still need to send). OK, most people mailed out their Christmas presents before Christmas, but we're not ones to fit into a mold. Don't buy that? OK, I admit that we got doing other things. We never actually forgot, but there were always other things that needed doing.

Let's see... I worked on the cars for the AWANA Grand Prix. The children each got a block of wood that Daddy gets to convert into a racing car. The children paint it and race it. Last year I bought a saw and some X-Acto knives, so I was well equipped for the task. The carving is almost done. I've got to do a bit of sanding, and then the children can paint.

Karen made a great marinated flank steak, with baked potatos (with cheese) and fresh green beans. Supper was great! I also read to the children, worked on an upcoming sermon, and got a nap on the sofa.

I was also thinking tonight about some previous postings on this blog. I've made some comments about the various troubles in the Anglican church. Rest assured that I take no joy in these troubles! The reason why I mention them is because, like everything else on this blog, they are something that I have been thinking about. I came from an Anglican background, so I retain some interest in what is happening in those circles. For the last decade and a half, I have seen the Anglican church avoiding many weighty issues. Indeed, I remember one article on an Anglican web site explaining why the author preferred heresy to schism. This is why it surprises me that the evangelical wing of the Anglican church is taking a strong stand about a theological issue; a stand which runs counter to the prevailing culture of our society. Quite frankly it amazes me. And while I don't wish to see any Christians struggling with schism, I am pleased that there are still some who can take a stand. Latimer and Ridley were burned for the orthodox Christian faith; now some of their successors are willing to take a stand for what is Biblical. There is something pleasing about this. My prayers and best wishes to those evangelical Anglicans who are contending for the faith once delivered.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Tired, tired, tired

Today was a bit crazy at work. My computer was getting fixed, so there were lots of things that didn't get done that needed to get done. So they got done tonight. I put in an extra 2.5 hours of work, until the battery on my laptop finally ran out of juice. Still lots to do, but it will have to wait until tomorrow. Hopefully I won't have too much work to take home tomorrow. It was rough because Joel wanted me to play Lego with him and I didn't have the time. He cried and cried and told me he didn't have a good day (he got his flu shot today). So I felt guilty. And I didn't make it out to the prayer meeting tonight, so I also felt guilty about that. I know I shouldn't feel guilty because I had no choice, but I still do. And I'm so tired...

Monday, January 12, 2004

Whats the big deal?

Why is there such a fuss in the Anglican church over the issue of the ordination of Bishop Robinson by the Episcopal Church of the USA (EPUSA)? After all, the Anglican church has embraced all sorts of liberalizing ideas over the last 50 years. So why is this issue different?

Two reasons. First, the average layman can understand this issue. Any issue that is in the least bit theological will cause most people to glaze over. But this is an issue that the average person can understand, an issue that seems intensely practical, and an issue which seems quite clear from a Biblical sense.

The second reason is that the Anglican churches in Africa and Asia cannot afford to let this issue slide. In Africa and Asia, the Anglican church is in intense competition with Muslims for converts. The Muslims have been criticising decadent Western influences for years, and so the Anglican churches in these areas absolutely cannot be seen as siding with the ECUSA. Ultimately, the Anglican churches of Africa and Asia value local converts a lot more than ECUSA money (as well any church should!).

The latest news is that the Anglican church of Zambia has impaired fellowship with both the ECUSA and the Church of England.

More on the Maintenance Agreement

The Manager from Sears never did bother to phone me back. I would think that someone in a managerial role would understand that he is the last chance to salvage a customer relationship. But maybe this is assuming too much. I called to cancel the agreement tonight. The fellow I talked to was sensible enough to refund the full amount and not try to charge me the prorated fee for the 5 days the agreement was in force.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

In Calvinistic Thought...

Genesis 1:26 says "Then God Said, "Let Us Make man in Our image"". How does a Calvinist interpret this verse? Any ideas?

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Visit to the Museum of Civilization

Today we went to the Canadian Museum of Civilization. It's located just across the Ottawa River from the Parliament Buildings, in Quebec. The building itself is architecturally attractive. It houses a large collection as well as some visiting exhibits. It also houses the Canadian Children's Museum, the Canadian Postal Museum and an IMAX theatre. The permanent collection includes a huge room with a high light blue ceiling (so it looks like you are outside). There are also exhibits set up like buildings so it looks like you are walking through the streets of New France (watching a sailing ship being built) or a small town in the 1920's.

Part of the visiting collection is the Dead Sea Scrolls. I recommend you visit without young children, who may become bored. On the other hand, I saw the only known ornament from the First Temple, the oldest known fragment of a Biblical verse, and a portion of the Book of Isaiah. Personally I was amazed. As a note, if you decide to go, go as early as you can on a Saturday. It was busy enough when we went through at about 10:00am (some of the Dead Sea Scroll exhibits are very small). After lunch, there would have been no point in trying to go.

While the museum is very attractive, it is a bit confusing. There is a central place where you pay your admission, and then multiple exhibit halls off it. This means that you need to show your stamped hand quite a number of times. Also, in my opinion, there is a disproportionate representation of Aboriginal culture. For example, one of the exhibit halls has a presentation on a small group of Inuit (who number a few hundred). While it is interesting to know about them, they were extremely isolated and had little influence on the development of Canadian civilization (or other Aboriginal cultures either). Yes, the Canadian Museum of Civilization is about Canadian civilization. Do not expect much in the way other civilizations, except in respect to how they may have immigrated to Canada.

Ottawa is a great place for homeschoolers. Families with children should consider coming to Ottawa for a week to see the sights. These include: the Museum of Civilization, the Museum of Nature, the Museum of Science and Technology, the War Museum, the National Gallery and the Aviation Museum. There are other smaller museums, including the Currency Museum in the Bank of Canada building, and the Experimental Farm. Also there are such attractions as Parliament Hill, the Supreme Court and the Rideau Canal.

Friday, January 09, 2004

More on the Anglican Meltdown

The Anglican Province of the Southern Cone (Argentina, Peru, Chile, Uruguay and Boliva) has issued a letter to the Episcopal church in the United States. It warns of "Impaired Communion" and also states that any missionaries sent to the Southern Cone will be required to affirm traditional Biblical beliefs regarding homosexuality.

You can read the letter here, but two things are noteworthy. First, the Primate of the Southern Cone warns one of the Episcopal bishops that they have departed from "faith once delivered to the saints". For those who are unaware, this is an extremely strong statement. I will quote Jude 1:3,4 for you:

3 Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.
4 For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.

The other thing that was interesting about this letter is the following quote:

In addition, you should know that many of us in the provinces you obviously consider to be of little consequence are also deeply offended at the arrogant, strident and unilateral action ECUSA has taken. This is doubly problematic because you personally have been so critical of your own government's failure to be collaborative in international affairs. Is stridence only a problem when you happen to disagree with the action and could you not at least have discussed your convictions and underlying principles with your fellow primates before the final steps were taken?

In other words, this is a stinging slap that says the Episcopal church in the U.S.A. feels free to criticize George Bush for unilateral action in Iraq, but feels free to take unilateral action on the issues they think are important.

It doesn't get a lot of press (at least, not a lot in the West), but the Anglican church has never before in it's history been so close to total fracture.

Getting ready for baby

We bought a crib a couple of days ago, and tonight I got a chance to put it together. We've put the crib and change table in our bedroom. The plan is for me to build a study in the basement this summer, and move my study out of the 4th bedroom at that point.

Karen went out tonight and bought a few things for the baby (so we don't feel totally unprepared). She also bought some fabric for Bethany, who wants to sew a quilt for the baby.

Sears phoned a couple of weeks ago, asking if we wanted to extend the maintenance contract on a couple of our appliances. I said yes for one year. The lady asked me 3 times if I was sure I didn't want a 2 year extension. Each time I was perfectly clear that it was a 1 year extension I wanted. When the maintenance agreement came, I saw that she put me down for a 2 year. I phoned the maintenance agreement people, and talked to a guy who said he could cancel the 2 year and sell me a 1 year. I said OK. Then he tells me, "The charge is already on your credit card. Are you sure you don't want the 2 year?" My patience was exhausted at that point, and I asked to speak to the Manager on duty. I was told he would phone me back, but he didn't. So, I will be phoning back to cancel the maintenance agreement entirely. I'm not impressed. Some of the appliances didn't arrive at our house on the day I took off to wait for them. Apparently they didn't make it onto the truck. The sales guy told me he'd take $100 off the bill, but when the bill came they charged me for the full amount. We called the service guy a couple of times to fix the dishwasher, and he kept telling us we weren't rinsing the dishes off well enough (even though we never had that problem with our cheap appliances in our townhouse). When the guy said he'd have to charge us for our next visit, I insisted he check further, and upon taking the dishwasher further apart, he found a piece that had been bent from day 1. And now this nonsense about the extended maintenance agreement. Thanks but no thanks.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Interesting Quote

An interesting quote from this Anglican website. I suggest you read the whole article:

That liberal western Christianity is fading in popularity while the simple, traditional Christianity preached in the developing world is not, is a puzzle to church leaders raised to believe that compromise beats theology and no belief is worth a bad press. But it's not a puzzle to [Anglican Archbishop of Nigeria] Peter Akinola. "If a fire is not burning, then it is no longer a fire," he said. "And if the church is not evangelizing, then it is like a dead fire."

Saturday, January 03, 2004


Today was a busy day. I was preparing a sermon for tomorrow. The preparation seemed to go well. However my perceptions are not always accurate, so we'll see what the Lord is able to do with my preparations tomorrow.

Also, some friends came over this morning to help me move an exercise machine into the basement (to make room in our bedroom for the baby's crib). I'll feel better when the crib is all set up. Karen is looking into diaper services. With the first 2 we used disposables, but this time she's thinking of cloth. Anyone have an opinion on this?

Tonight, Karen made some cheese twist pastries, and we got to eat them in front of the fireplace. As I do this update, I'm listening to NASA TV, waiting for the Mars Spirit lander to touch down.

Friday, January 02, 2004

A Couple of Kings

I was going to entitle this entry "A New Year Dawns" but then I realized that the new year has been much like the old one. I finished "Detectives in Togas" with the children. They really enjoyed it. The purpose of read-aloud books is to build vocabulary.

I talked to my friend Jamie last night, and he agreed that the best scene in "Return of the King" was when the riders of Rohan hit the orc lines... and just kept going.

I finished the book on Campbell Morgan. It was less of a biography than the other books I read, but was still interesting. He was also mostly self-taught, though clearly in all the cases I mentioned self-taught does not mean untaught or poorly taught.

I was on the web site for Salisbury Cathedral the other day. It is listed in one of my children's books as the finest cathedral in England. I went through one of the sermons that was posted. The title was "Christ the King", and the topic was "Why Christians should be involved in politics and social issues and especially with regards to George Bush and Iraq"! I make no claims to great oratory skills, but if I was asked to preach to hundreds of people in the greatest cathedral in England on the topic of Christ the King, my sermon would have been a bit... different. Invoking the name of Christ is not a magical formula that lends authority to whatever we decide to say. Sadly, in many churches this is the case. Whatever issues are trendy need to be supported regardless of what the Bible says, and Christ the King is only useful in so far as men can claim to be His legates, speaking on His behalf on matters which He Himself is silent.