Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Gay Marriage In Canada

What I'm about to say will upset a lot of people. In fact, I hesitate to post anything at all, but frankly, I'm sick of hearing Christians carry on about the gay marriage issue as if it were the only important issue in the election.

Let me state right off the top that I am in favour of the traditional definition of marriage - the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others. I believe if homosexuals want to form civil unions, they should be allowed to do so, but do not call it marriage. That being said, we are turning the gay marriage issue into our magnum opus, the defining issue by which we choose to support a candidate. At my parents church, they are even encouraging their congregation to vote for the Conservatives because they are going to change the gay marriage law. Poppycock! I think there are going to be an awful lot of disappointed people when it becomes a backburner issue after the election takes place.

What do we as Christians want to be know for? How much we loath homosexuals or how much we love our enemies and care for the poor and the oppressed? I don't hear many churches up in arms about Canada's shoddy record on foreign aid. Or when was the last time you heard of Christians lobbying their MP to do something about homelessness on our own streets? It seems we choose our issues very carefully, and especially prefer those that don't cause us to question our own motives. I heard theologian Brian McLaren say once that it's time to just shut up and start loving people. I agree.

"You have heard the law that says 'Love your neighbour' and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!" - Jesus (Matthew 5:43-44, NLT).

"There is still one thing you lack...Sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." - Jesus (Luke 18:22, NLT)

"Healthy people don't need a doctor--sick people do. I have come to call sinners, not those who think they are already good enough." - Jesus (Mark 2:17, NLT)

I'm NOT Gonna' Be In Politics!

I had another call from the CBC tonight that they definitely want me to pose my question in person to Stephen Harper - great news - except for one little problem...the question period is going to be taped mid-morning tomorrow instead of being live tomorrow night. Hello? Some of us have to work during the day! I have two appointments in the morning and a meeting in the afternoon so there's no way I can make it to the taping. Too bad; I was looking forward to asking a very important question to what looks like the next Prime Minister of Canada. Just for the record, here is the final, reworked version of my question:

Mr. Harper,
There has been very little discussion in this campaign about international aid to impoverished countries as well as addressing child poverty and homelessness here in Canada. I have studied the platforms of the three primary parties and it would appear that the NDP are the only party to make a firm commitment to increase foreign aid to 0.7% of GDP by 2015 as outlined in the Millennium Development Goals.

I believe that a country as wealthy as Canada has a responsibility to provide assistance to the poor around the world and here at home. What is the Conservative Party's commitment to the more than 30,000 people worldwide who die of poverty related illnesses every day?

Monday, January 16, 2006

Free At Last, Free At Last

I was reminded this morning by an audio clip on CBC that today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the U.S. If ever there were something worth celebrating, it is the life of Dr. King. Most people know his leagacy so I won't repeat it here. I would just encourage you to follow the links below and be reminded again just what the Kingdom of God is all about.

Build the
I Have A Dream
Letter From A Birmingham Jail
The King Center

"Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the promised land. And I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord."

Friday, January 13, 2006

I'm Gonna' Be In Politics!

Well, well, well. It seems that little ol' me might be getting embroiled in this election campaign after all. Generally speaking, I try to keep my politcal views to myself unless I'm talking to someone who thinks the same way I do - too many hard feelings, etc. That being said, I just had a call from the CBC to potentially take part in the live Q&A time with Stephen Harper if it actually happens. As of right now it hasn't been confirmed, nor has a location, but if it's in Toronto there's a good chance I'll be there. WooHoo! Here's the question I submitted:

There has been very little discussion in this campaign about international aid to impoverished countries. Furthermore, there has been no attempt to address child poverty and homelessness here in Canada. In reviewing the websites of the major parties, it would appear that the NDP are the only party to consider either of these issues in their election platform. What commitment are you (Mr.’s Martin/Harper) willing to make toward these issues as well as the Millennium Development Goals?

I'll keep you posted, but if I make it, watch for me early next week asking my question to Mr. Harper live and in-person!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Just Say No...To Books!

I'm not one to make resolutions so this is not a resolution, but it is a commitment to read fewer books this year. I know, I know...I'm in the book business and besides, reading is good for you. Well, that's true as long as you don't get to the point of only reading and never doing. I feel like I've reached a point where I need to step back from reading so many theology/ministry books and actually get myself doing the work of the Kingdom instead of just reading about it. Fiction, biography, history, world issues, or comic books are all okay. Just no more theology/ministry books for a while. I'm off now to read the Canadian Book of Lists!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

All Is Quiet On New Year's Day...

And so it is. After having a couple of friends over for New Year's Eve last night, today has been a very mellow sort of day with leftover Chinese food, winter getaway thoughts, and a visit to Bedside Baptist church (an Andy Stanley video actually!) I took Havana out for a walk this morning and was amazed at the absolute lack of activity. Christmas seemed fairly quiet on our street, but nothing compared to the stillness this morning.

This has been a fairly reflective day as well. We watched a World Vision TV special earlier and I've been reading some of Brian McLaren's next book, The Secret Message of Jesus, that comes out in April. Without divulging too much information, McLaren's premise is that Jesus had a "secret" that we have not really understood for most of the last two millennia, namely, that the Kingdom of God is not a future glory to look forward to, but is here, among us now. In Matthew 10:7 Jesus said “the kingdom of heaven is near” - Jesus ushered in the Kingdom. In McLaren's words, "Instead of being about the kingdom of God coming to earth, the Christian religion has too often become preoccupied with abandoning or escaping the earth and going to heaven."

I’ve read a lot and thought a lot about “the kingdom” lately and wrote this in my journal last night: How then, does my perspective of the world change if I am seeking the establishment of God’s kingdom on a daily basis? How do I view my community, my neighbours, my co-workers, and my friends? How does my view of the environment change? What about poverty and oppression, both at home and around the world…

Looking back at 2005, I know that God challenged me and stretched my faith more than ever before and in ways I would not have expected. I have a greatly expanded view of who my neighbour is and a much deeper vision of what my community and the world could be if the Kingdom of God were allowed to fully establish itself. And contrary to the opinion of many, I am convinced that the Kingdom has nothing to do with political power or influence. It is a kingdom of love, joy, hope, humility, and peace. These are the words of a true revolution!

As I look forward to 2006, I wonder what God has in store; but as I sit here writing this now, I feel very strongly that He will continue to stretch my concept of the Kingdom even further. In many ways, my faith has moved from my head to my heart this year. My prayer is that it would move from my heart to my hands and feet in the year ahead.

Happy New Year to All!