Saturday, March 31, 2007


Tomorrow I'm continuing a series on Basic Theology at Bridlewood Bible Chapel. You can listen to the previous 6 messages at the Bridlewood website. The first message set a philosophical basis, that if there is a God He must have given us revelation (i.e. a book). The second gives proofs for the existence of God. The third establishes that the Bible is that book that God has given. The fourth explores canonicity and how we got the English Bible. The fifth and sixth messages discuss Bible interpretation. And tomorrow I'll be preaching two messages on dispensationalism. Two messages isn't really enough, but I don't want to overload the audience. For those who want more, Lewis Johnson has a 39 part series on "The Divine Purpose".

In a fair world

I saw some videos of the British sailors and marines who were captured by Iran, after doing shipping inspections in international waters. How all this will play out, I don't know. What I found interesting was that the sole British female among the captives is seen wearing a head scarf. There is no evidence that she was particularly interested in wearing a head scarf before she was captured, so one must assume that she was pressured/required to do so by her captives. In a fair world, this would mean that the British would be justified in forcing arrested Iranian women to remove their head scarfs and appear on TV. Thankfully this isn't a fair world, and I assume the British will retain their traditional sense of decency rather than standing on their rights.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Joel the Barbarian

Last night at supper, Joel asked if he could eat like a barbarian. Believing that boys should be given the opportunity to behave like boys, I agreed. It wasn't a pretty sight. You can eat rice by the handful, but forks are definitely better.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Idea for a TV Show

OK, I have an idea about how to make Christianity more acceptable in our society. Maybe we can even make a few converts using this idea. We'll create a TV show. The central character will be a young Baptist Pastor in his first parish. He'll be young, good looking, well educated and well spoken. While the show will be a comedy, it won't be making fun of Christians. Instead it will make fun of those who are ignorant of Christianity and present some of those situations Christians find themselves in a humorous manner. We'll need a romantic interest for the Pastor, so we'll have this young woman who is a very devout Christian. In some ways she'll be more conservative than the Pastor and in some ways more liberal. Her parents will be a bit of a mixed bag. Her Dad will profess Christianity, but in reality he'll be more interested in business than faith. Her Mom will be somewhere in the middle, between the Dad and the daughter as to the degree of her seriousness about Christianity. To make things interesting, we'll make the mother a convert from some other religion; maybe Islam. She converts to Christianity in order to marry. The folks in the local town will be the main comedic source since they will be bigoted against Christianity in a way that is obviously based on total ignorance. I think we could use this TV comedy to really explain Christianity, to make people comfortable with Christianity, and maybe even to help people consider the idea of becoming Christians themselves. For a title I wasn't sure, but I think “Little Church on the Prairie” might be good. We'll see if the CBC wants to produce it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

More on Books

There's been another suggestion made in the Comments for my "Great Christian Books" list. Feel free to add your suggestions.

Now here is a question. If you had to choose between "The Reformed Pastor" and "The Saints Everlasting Rest" which would you choose?

Good Night

No, I'm not wishing you a good night, because it's now morning. Hannah had a good night. Once she settled down she slept through the night. In fact, that makes three nights out of four that she's slept through the night, with the remaining night being her gorilla heads nightmare. Just for the record, there are no gorilla heads in our house. I checked.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Budgets and Gorilla Heads

The Canadian Federal Budget was announced today. Frankly it was incredibly bland. Nothing that anyone could really get excited about and nothing that anyone could really get upset about. Not that Stephane Dion and Jack Layton haven't managed to be critical. You'd think the Finance Minister had announced he was selling Canada to the United States in exchange for some food stamps. But some people already know they're going to be critical even before the announcements are made. Frankly, I thought the budget was so bland and inoffensive it's a bit embarrassing.

However, we in the Abigail house have bigger worries; gorilla heads. Yup, gorilla heads. Karen read Hannah a book last night in which a singing telegram delivery girl wears a gorilla suit, and Hannah ended up having nightmares about gorilla heads. I ended up awake from 4:30am on. Tonight the plan is for Hannah to sleep in Bethany's room, but half an hour past her bedtime Hannah shows no interest in laying down. We'll see what happens.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Welts, Scars and Tears of Laughter

My back is starting to feel better. I spent some time wrestling with each of the children last night. Obviously I was very careful. When it was Bethany's turn, she clawed at my arms as I was trying to tickle her neck. The end result was a lot of scratches on my arms, a couple places where she drew some blood, and a couple of places that might end up as scars. I do have a scar from wrestling about 6 months ago. Still, what are a few scars if it builds some memories.

On the laughter side of things, a guy at work sent out an email saying his email was now working. Why had his email at work stopped when everyone else's was fine? Well a little program he's responsible for went nuts and sent him over 225,000 emails. It took days for IT to get his email account cleared out. Maybe I'm cruel, but when I read this I burst into laughter.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Great Books

I was reading a recent issue of First Things. Being a journal that is very much influenced by Roman Catholic thought, there are many advertisements for Roman Catholic universities and colleges. I find these ads interesting for a number of reasons. First, they openly proclaim that their school is faithful to the Magisterium (the official body of Roman Catholic doctrine). I don't suppose all Roman Catholic schools are like this, but it is refreshing in a time when many Protestant institutions seem obsessed with apologizing for believing anything.

But a second point should be made. These Roman Catholic schools make frequent reference to interacting with the great books of the Catholic intellectual tradition. But that left me wondering about the great books of the evangelical Protestant tradition, and whether anyone reads them anymore. Maybe we Protestants are addicted to new books. Given the choice between a new book that presents "just the facts" and the choice of reading a dozen books starting at the beginning and tracing the development of a doctrine, we'll choose the read the new book. But reading the abridged version doesn't give you the depth of understanding you will get when you start from first principles and read a dozen theologians who have wrestled with a doctrine over the centuries.

That's not to say all new books are bad. There are a couple of Christian books that have been written this century which will still be read 300 years from now. But that's just it; a truly great book will stand the test of time. It will discuss issues the church wrestled with 3 centuries ago and will still be wrestling with 3 centuries from now.

Of course the nice think about these books is that they are available. One does not need to attend a university or seminary in order to interact with the greatest Protestant thinkers (though admittedly a good professor can make the whole task easier). The books are available, if we want to take the time to read them.

So what are the great books every Christian thinker should read? And lets not restrict ourselves to one theological view. For example, I'm not a Calvinist, but I might be inclined to put "The Institutes" on the list. I guess intellectual honesty requires me to state that every Christian should understand the development of Calvinistic thought, whether you agree with that doctrine or not. Similarly every Christian, even the most Calvinistic, should understand why some Christians came to reject Calvinistic teaching and adopt an Arminian position. So without trying to push one specific theological view, what are the great books of the Protestant intellectual tradition that every thinking Christian should interact with? I'd like to hear your suggestions.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Back Up

It's been an interesting week. On Saturday I was putting my tool box away and I hurt my back. I twisted, bent, then yelped. I was able to slowly stand again without help, but ended up going to bed for the rest of the day. I was still hurting Monday and took the day off work. Today I went to Physiotherapy, and it is feeling a lot better. The PT did a back assessment, figured out that it was not a slipped disk or an SI joint, and that it was a problem with the facet joint. She showed me what had happened on a model of the spine, massaged the joint (helpful afterwards but not all that nice while it's happening), zapped me with some electricity, and gave me some exercises. I'm feeling a lot better, but I'm still moving very slow and being really, really careful.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Seldom do so few words describe so much

Seldom do so few words describe so much. A friend of mine described a game he played when he was growing up. The title of the game is all you need to understand the rules, the goal, the potential fun and the inherent hazards. "Roman Candle Tag".

John Robson

John Robson is a columnist who writes for the Ottawa Citizen.

Love the line, "As we said while not reprinting the infamous Danish cartoons, never would we insult someone's beliefs or faith tradition -- and by the way did you know that Jesus wasn't resurrected, plus he had sex with Magdalene."

You can read the whole column at:

Also, John has a website at

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Why is the West Powerful?

"The heart of your culture is your religion, Christianity.... That is why the West has been so powerful. We don't have any doubt about that."

Too bad so many in the West don't listen to the same scholars.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Militant Secularism

The highway to militant secularism does have a few speed bumps.

I love the statement, "it only hurts the students". A complete inability by the school administration to see that their own actions were the ones that were hurting the students.