Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Election in Canada

Well the Prime Minister has visited the Governor General, and the election is ON. Last night in the House of Commons, Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition moved a motion of non-confidence. In fact, it is the first time non-confidence was explicitly mentioned. The range of motions by which a lack of confidence in the government can be expressed is not written, but it includes all spending bills. In this case, the motion that was voted on was an explicit "The House has lost confidence in this government."

Pray for a good, peaceable, righteous and honest government.

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Real Agenda of the Secularists

Within the corporate world and the political world, it is now unacceptable to use the word "Christmas". It's OK to refer to "the holidays" just so long as you don't specify which holiday it is. The stated reason for this extreme political correctness is that we don't want to exclude anyone. Besides the fact that this view excludes the Christians, let's examine this notion a bit further. Are the Muslims upset by Christmas holidays? Not the ones I know. The Muslims I know are just fine with Christians celebrating the birthday of a man whom they consider a prophet. The Jews are fine with others celebrating Christmas, provided they aren't forced into observing the religious aspects. The Hindus don't seem to care much about people in this society celebrating Christmas. About the only people who care are the militant secularists. They and they alone are the driving force behind the elimination of Christmas. I feel like telling my Muslim, Jewish and Hindu friends to watch out, because the secularists won't stop; they'll be coming soon for Eid, Yom Kippur and Dilwali.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Regular Update

It was a busy weekend. I took the children to the library on Saturday morning, which is a regular ritual for us. We were supposed to go out for supper to a friend’s house, but Bethany was feeling sick, so we had to cancel. The happy news is that while I was typing the previous sentence I got a phone call extending the invitation for next weekend!

On Sunday I was preaching in the morning and the evening. I choose Romans 13 and 14 as my passages. It was interesting because ahead of time I thought the Romans 13 sermon was weaker than the Romans 14 sermon. However when I preached them, the morning seemed stronger. I’ve learned that I have to be responsible in preparation, but that God can make more of my weakness than he can my strength.

Work has been really busy. In addition to the regular workload, I am working on writing the specification document for a new problem tracking system. The original spec had a lot of ambiguity in it, so myself and another design manager are blitzing on getting it ready. Last night I was adding some requirements that will benefit component engineering. You wouldn’t believe the issues surrounding component obsolescence (but then again, 99% of the people who read this blog really wouldn’t care what the issues are).

Book Review: Brothers, We Are Not Professionals

I’m reading “Brothers, We Are Not Professionals” by John Piper. I’m not exactly certain why I initially purchased it. I remember thinking that I would agree with the general premise; that those who preach the word of God are not professionals. We recognize this in the church I attend, and I thought, it’s high time some Pastors realized it too.

Whatever my reasons were, I was unprepared for the contents of this book. Yes, Piper is a Baptist Pastor. Yes, he’s a Calvinist. And where he stands on Covenant Theology I don’t know. But this is a book that talks of brokenness and repentance and suffering in a way I’ve never encountered. Whether Piper is a Dispensationalist or not, I don’t know. What I do know is that he speaks about the glory of God in an amazing manner. It is one of the 3 major distinctives of Dispensational theology that God’s highest purpose is His own glory. And yet dispensationalists (including myself) tend to state this as a theological point and then move on; Piper dwells on the importance of God’s glory in a way that all Dispensationalists should.

Anyone who teaches the Bible in a church or even a Sunday School should read this book. Elders should read this book. And yes, church Pastors should read this book. Again, you will find material in this book that you will not agree with. Ignore it if you wish, but don’t let the points you disagree with keep you from this book.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Shock sets in

The headlines are blaring. Shock is setting. How could it be true? The new candidate for the U.S. Supreme Court has denied that the Constitution protects a woman's right to an abortion! Never mind that the American Constitution never mentions abortion, it is taken as a point beyond contention that abortion is protected. It's the equivalent of saying "Billy Graham denies that the Bible is the word of God". Of course, the Constitution is the basis for the secular religion of America. How could such a thing happen?

Point to note for young conservatives. During law school, legal practice and time on the bench, never mention abortion to anybody. After all, if you said something negative about abortion 20 years ago, there is no way you'll ever make the Supreme Court.

Of course liberals use an interesting tactic, which is generally effective but is childishly easy to refute if you are looking for it. Never say, "I disagree with Billy-Bob's opinion." This is too subjective. Who is to say my opinion is better than Billy-Bob's. Instead, raise the stakes and use an equally subjective but much more effective statement like "I'm concerned Billy-Bob's views are dangerous." Reporters will never ask you why you consider them dangerous, because it gives them a great sound bite or headline. Remember, journalism is a business and headlines sell while truth doesn't sell.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


I’m home sick with a cold, so it might be a good opportunity to do some updates on my blog.

I was listening to a talk Dr John Patrick gave at a conference of physicians. He made lots of interesting points, but I’ll just take the time to share one. Some people say they are in favour of abortion because it is legal in this country. But John pointed out that killing people in gas chambers was legal in Hitler’s Germany. Even without this observation, it should be clear that the statement “I agree with it and I do it because it is legal” is full of holes.

I finished my book “Empire”. It reached a surprising conclusion; surprising because it is politically incorrect. The politically correct view is that all empires are always bad. On the other hand, Niall Ferguson argues at the conclusion of his book that the British Empire increased free trade during times of protectionism, provided a good foundation for law and education in their former colonies, a common language, and perhaps most interesting of all provided sufficient stability in the colonies that investors were able to flow capital into the colonies. Ferguson doesn’t gloss over the negative history of the British Empire, but does point out the relative success of the former British colonies as opposed to the colonies of the other European countries. In the end, Britain made the noble choice to oppose Hitler, a decision which cost her heavily in manpower and wealth, and assured the dissolution of the Empire.

My friend John has posted some comments on patents on his blog. I suggest you read them. John is a strong supporter of open source software. I on the other hand am more pragmatic in the open source vs. commercial software debate. My take on patents is that it is simply a way of ensuring that people who do creative work get compensated for it. If that creative work is a book, play or piece of art, there are copyrights. If that creative work is an invention, then there are patents. If we want to throw away all laws surrounding creative work (including copyrights), so be it. Or if we feel creative work is worth encouraging and compensating, then let’s continue to have copyrights, trademarks and patents.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Conversation at Lunch

I had a conversation at lunch today with a couple of co-workers. They are both great guys. Anyway, I decided to push them out of their philosophical comfort zone a bit. One of the men commented on a TV show he saw about a certain cultural practice involving children which we all found quite repulsive. The country shall remain nameless. In fact, the conversation could refer to any number of practices and any number of countries. So I asked him, "Do you believe one culture is superior to another?"

This is of course a politically incorrect question. It is a given in our country that all cultures are equal, even when confronted with evidence to the contrary. So I made it a bit easier for him. I said, "OK, do you believe a certain set of cultural practices are superior to another set of cultural practices?" Perhaps a less blanket statement would prove more politically correct.

He still wavered. In a case like this our strongest tool is often a comparison of the way children are treated in various cultures. It seems that our society is willing to deny logic but God has still given us a sensitivity where children are concerned. So I honed in on this. "Do you mean to tell me that [this repulsive cultural practice] is the moral equivalent to me taking my children to the library on a Saturday morning?"

Of course not. But he caught the next point without me needing to lead him to it. He replied, "I guess it depends on the ruler you use." Exactly. It depends on the ruler you use to judge cultural practices, morality and even simple right and wrong.

I gave some more examples, as well as a short digression on whether multiculturalism and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms are a suitable ruler with which to judge cultural practices. Of course when a person says, "it depends on the ruler you use" there are a lot of directions you can take the conversation. You can tear apart the commonly used rulers in our society. You can show how rulers shift. You can challenge the assertion that your opinion on a suitable ruler is better than my opinion on a ruler.

Indeed, the Christian has a ruler which is unchanging and has been applied successfully as the basis of many societies. It is the Bible. A society and a set of cultural practices which have a Biblical basis have a firm foundation against changing opinions, expediency, political influence and the desire to lower the bar to justify our own immorality. Even more, as Francis Schaeffer pointed out, with the Bible as the authoritative foundation, one man can stand up against oppression and immorality in high places.

Too bad our society thinks it preferable to build on the shifting foundation of quicksand.

P.S. - it should be noted that I do not blanket condemn or blanket commend any society. I always look for the good in other people, and I often find it in people from other cultures and backgrounds. The only thing is, I have a ruler by which I can define "good"!


At work I sometimes joke, "I'm independently wealthy. I just work here because it amuses me." But in many ways I am a rich man. I have a great wife and wonderful children that love me. I have health. I have friends, and a house and a job. Of course as a Christian I know I have even greater riches in the person of Christ and in the assurance of my future in heaven.

However, for the moment I want to dwell on another type of riches. I know this type of riches I am about to speak about is not as profound as the ones I previously mentioned. But it is a thought that hit me the other day. I am rich with the blessings of intellectual stimulation. At the moment I have a whack of really great, really deep books which I have purchased and still have to read. In fact, I have so many that I'm having a hard time coming up with anything I'd like for a Christmas present! For example, I am currently reading a number of books:

Truth Decay - about the philosophy of truth

The Supremacy of God in Preaching - John Piper - wow. What a Christ centered reflection on preaching. Puts the "how to" books to shame.

The Best of the Public Square - a collection of articles from First Things magazine. I don't always agree (the magazine and book lean towards Roman Catholicism) but Neuhaus really has a way of putting complex thoughts into a few words.

Empire - a book on how Britain gained her empire and the influence it had on the world. Did you know that the British Civil Service in India never numbered more than 2000 men?

Over the last couple of years I feel like my mind has come awake, and I have really started to think about the world we live in and how I, as a Christian, can interact with this world and help demonstrate the rationality of the Christian position.