find wisdom to win the war within
november â€“ december 2009 Newsstand Price CDN $4.95
You made a promise. Let us help you keep it. Seminary education that embraces family.
Take classes in five day modular and distance learning format. Call 1-800-667-5199 or visit www.briercrest.ca for more information.
March 26-27, 2010 â€˘ Main speaker: Dr. Ray Ortlund SERVE is an annual conference at Briercrest College and Seminary that serves the church by providing ministers and lay workers with opportunities for intellectual and spiritual formation. A Ministry Equipping and Personal Enrichment Conference
Visit www.briercrest.ca/serve for more details
november – december, 2009
november – december 2009 Newsstand Price CDN $4.95
on the cover
BATTLEFIELD SOUL find wisdom to win the war with in
14 Battlefield Soul Gaining wisdom to win the war within. Publisher: Brian Koldyk Managing Editor: Doug Koop Pulse Editor: Robert White
features 14 Deadly Sins and Vital Virtues Every choice a man makes in life has an impact for good or bad. 17
Walk the Line Johnny Cash knew he might screw up.
18 Faith in a War Zone Christian soldiers find hope on the battlefields of Afghanistan. 21 Remember Valour 22 A Pastor’s Plea Seven things your pastor wants you to know.
advertising account executives: WILLIAM LEIGHTON: email@example.com DARRELL FRIESEN: firstname.lastname@example.org JIM HICKS: email@example.com Unless otherwise indicated, neither ChristianWeek nor Promise Keepers Canada guarantee, warrant, or endorse any product, program, or service advertised.
editorial advisory board KIRK GILES: Promise Keepers Canada JEFF STEARNS: Promise Keepers Canada PHIL WAGLER: Kingsfield Zurich MC SANDRA REIMER: Reimer Reason Communications DOUG KOOP: ChristianWeek Distributed by
promise keepers canada 1295 North Service Road PO Box 40599 Burlington, ON L7P 4W1 (905) 331-1830 firstname.lastname@example.org Postmaster: Please send address changes to PO Box 40599, Burlington, ON L7P 4W1
25 Historic Profile Sir Sanford Fleming
5 PK Podium Caught between two worlds 6 Sex Q&A Forego fantasy for foreplay
8-11 Pulse Curious events. Interesting people. Good ideas. 12
24 Money Matters Higher education is a vital gift for children 27 Out of My Depth What is the sound of one hand clapping?
Reviews Power, love, Facebook and forgetfulness
28 Power Play Tools. Toys. Technology.
The name reflects the seven promises that form the basis of the Promise Keepers organization, which works with churches to minister to men across Canada.
Editorial and Advertising Office 204-424 Logan Avenue Winnipeg, MB R3A 0R4 Phone: (204) 982-2060 (800) 263-6695 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
30 What Women Want Chivalry on life support
seven is a Christian magazine for Canadian men that exists to help men lead more fulfilling lives and leave enduring legacies.
Cover Photo: iStockphoto
Design: Indigo Ink Studios www.indigoinkstudios.com
one – A Promise Keeper is committed to honouring Jesus Christ through worship, prayer, and obedience to God's word in the power of the Holy Spirit.
four – A Promise Keeper is committed to building strong marriages and families through love, protection, and biblical values.
six – A Promise Keeper is committed to reaching beyond any racial and denominational barriers to demonstrate the power of biblical unity.
two – A Promise Keeper is committed to pursuing vital relationships with a few other men, understanding that he needs brothers to help him keep his promises.
five – A Promise Keeper is committed to supporting the mission of the church by honouring and praying for his pastor, and by actively giving his time and resources.
seven – A Promise Keeper is committed to influencing his world, being obedient to the Great Commandment (see Mark 12:30-31) and the Great Commission (see Matt 28:19-20).
three – A Promise Keeper is committed to practising spiritual, moral, ethical, and sexual purity.
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Caught between two worlds The rewards of wise choices are eternal by Kirk Giles
Several months ago I was flying between cities for a variety of Promise Keepers related activities. On one flight, I was in my seat waiting for everyone to board the plane. A very attractive young lady came walking down the aisle and I hoped beyond hope that she would not sit in the seat next to me. Normally, I try to avoid talking to people on an airplane; it is kind of a personal space for me to zone out from the world. I accomplish this by plugging my headphones into the seat and watching a movie or listening to some music. Unfortunately, on this flight, there was no TV or music to be found. To make matters worse, this woman opened up her magazine and started to read to me about men who cheat on their spouses and speak about it in rather glowing terms. There I was—caught between two worlds. I was facing the reality of temptation staring me in the face. On the other hand, I also knew who I am in Christ, and the beautiful, godly woman He has blessed me with as my wife. I am convinced that men who follow Jesus are often caught between two worlds. We are faced with a variety of temptations every day. We face temptations around the world’s definition of what is important, and temptations to live in despair because of the current state of affairs in the world. In contrast, Jesus calls us to something different, something
that lasts beyond this world and a life of peace and joy. We feel the tug of war. In 1 Corinthians 10:13 we read: “But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it” (NLT). What a promise! As you and I feel caught between two worlds, we can always remember the faithfulness of God, especially His promise that He never allows temptation to go beyond what we can handle and that there is always a way of escape. In my situation, the way of escape was to start talking about my wife and my role in ministering to men across Canada. The conversation quickly changed away from where she wanted it to go, and moved towards how God can change a man’s life. To every man who is reading this and who feels caught between two worlds, I want to encourage you. Stay faithful to Jesus. You are not alone in the battle, and you are not alone in choosing His ways. The consequences of poor decisions can be disastrous, but the rewards of Wise Choices are eternal. One day, you will hear the words “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Kirk Giles is president of Promise Keepers Canada. He and Shannon have been married for 15 years. They are the parents of four children, ages 6–13.
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Forego fantasy for foreplay by Doug Weiss Is foreplay wrong? Absolutely not, foreplay is what makes sex fun! If you have played any sport in your masculine life, you know about the warm up phase. Your coach would have you stretch, pull, twist to get you ready to play. Sex is more than a sport and foreplay is more than just groping at your spouse. Remember the rest of her body is foreplay too. Go for her hair, back and feet before you move on. Remember, sex is also three-dimensional. Have your spiritual foreplay intact: make sure you have been sharing your heart and not just managing communication with your wife; make sure appreciations for the many things she does as well are on your lips and are flowing. Also consider that the woman you want to engage with is a global thinker; so make sure you have kept your word or assignments (honey do’s). Yes, a random act of kindness (laundry, dishes) is also foreplay. So foreplay of all types is really good. Is it okay to masturbate if you only fantasize about your wife? I mean, what’s the big deal if I only fantasize about her? Here is the problem with masturbating to your wife. Firstly, there are three types of masturbation. Basically, men who are “B” type masturbators don’t use fantasy, nor do they disconnect during masturbation. This group represents 15 per cent of masturbators. The man asking this question is not a “B” masturbator. An “A” masturbator never masturbates so I know it’s not an “A” masturbator asking the question. That leaves us with the “C” masturbator. A “C” masturbator disconnects from their body and goes into a fantasy and or a lust state. In this fantasy world all the people in it are objects, not souls.
These people (objects) in the other world are always willing, never complain, and you don’t have to negotiate for sex and can treat them anyway you want. Here’s the problem. When you scan your wife and make her a fantasy object, you deprive her of her soul. She does all your favorite sexual behaviours (whether in reality she does them or not). Object sex is a really bad idea. Your brain has created two women who look alike but are extremely different. There is no reason to bring your wife or any other person into this object fantasy world of yours. Jesus is not in your fantasy world. He is in the real world. Men will often use this excuse to masturbate. If your wife is available, ask her to be sexual. If she’s not available, you won’t die. I travel all around the country and world. I am very healthy and have a strong sex drive and I haven’t masturbated in more than 18 years. When you do get to be with your wife, it’s always worth the wait. So the long and short of it is, no way! My wife has gained quite a bit of weight since our marriage and I can’t deny the fact that it affects me. It is difficult to talk about because she is very sensitive about it. Do you have any advice? Most guys who struggle with their wife gaining weight are doing sex wrong. If you are still masturbating to young women with hard bodies, your attachment to this is the problem—not your wife’s weight. Secondly, if during sex your eyes are closed or, worse, you’re thinking of other women, you would also be the problem— not your wife. Now, try this for the next six months and hopefully the rest of your life. When making love to your wife, keep your eyes open, even while you’re having an orgasm. Keep looking into her eyes even after your orgasm. You will train your brain
to connect to her spirit and soul, not just her body during sex. Your issues with her body will largely reduce. If you have concerns about her health start going with her for walks. Also go grocery shopping with her and cut down on buying the sweets. Tell her you’re struggling and you don’t want it around for a while. If she gets too unhealthy, a loving doctor will be easier for her to hear than a loving husband. Do most Christian women experience orgasm? Yes, most Christian women experience orgasm. All secular research on religious women has maintained that religious, married women have the greatest level of sexual satisfaction. So, most of you guys are really great lovers. Keep up the good work! However, I think we should talk about orgasm frequency for women. Women are very, very different when it comes to orgasms, and this can change dramatically over the years you will be married. Some women honestly want one or multiple orgasms when they have sex. Some women are content with an orgasm once a week to once every few months. Women are much more complex than men when it comes to orgasms. You could be a great lover and she still won’t necessarily desire frequent orgasms. Don’t hang your sexual self-esteem on your wife’s orgasms. She might have huge control issues dealing with stress, sexual abuse, abortions or honestly just doesn’t need or want orgasms as often as you do. Believe her when she tells you what her desires are and be responsive to her when she does want to go for it. Be happy with the wife of your youth and remember that things change.
Douglas Weiss, Ph.D. is a Licensed Psychologist and Executive Director of Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, CO. He has appeared on Oprah, Dr. Phil and many other national media appearances. Contact him by email at email@example.com or visit his website at www.drdougweiss.com.
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Curiousities. Personalities. Ideas. Information. by Robert White PULSE Editor
RACETRACK CHAPLAIN MINISTERS TO “LOST CITY” “No verse in the Bible says gambling is a sin” is Shawn Kennedy’s stock answer to the question that comes up when he tells people he’s the chaplain at Toronto’s Woodbine racetrack. “But can you do better things with your money? Absolutely.” As a former trainer and amateur jockey who grew up in the horseracing industry—his father was a “gentleman horseman”—Kennedy understands the tier system that leads to the track’s biggest problem, which isn’t gambling. It’s loneliness. Kennedy describes Woodbine, located in northwest Toronto, as a “lost city.” The country’s premier racetrack employees
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1,800 people and stables 2,500 horses, many of which are treated better than the human employees. “This industry is geared to the horse,” says Kennedy. “The horse comes first. The horse always has the right of way. After looking after an expensive horse, you don’t feel like much after a while. “It isn’t a glamorous environment. Walking through the barns there’s the sweet smell of success, but it ain’t what you’d expect,” says Kennedy, who started ministry at Winnipeg’s Assiniboia Downs in the 1990s while still a full-time youth pastor. Hired as a youth pastor in Kansas in 2000, four years later he heard the call of the racetrack again. The Racetrack Chaplaincy of Canada was looking for a chaplain at Woodbine to complement the
one at Mohawk, so both of Ontario’s key thoroughbred and harness tracks would be covered. From his office in a converted garage, Kennedy oversees the ministry’s chapel and counselling services, computer and language courses, resource library and clothing depot. “A big part of this ministry is just trying to do normal human things for people,” he says. Much like a hospital or prison chaplain, Kennedy spends most of his time building relationships. “I walk the barn area just to bump into people and see how they’re doing. Some I need to check up on to see if they’re still there and relatively sober,” referring to his rehabilitative counselling duties. With the loneliness often comes drug and alcohol
abuse, and Kennedy is brought in to help those who want to get back to work at the track. His industry background—Kennedy still gets to the track at 5:30 a.m. to gallop exercise horses until 8 a.m.— and his devotion to the ministry give him credibility among the multi-millionaire owners as well as jockeys and stable aides. “Horse people are ‘show-me people,’” says Kennedy. “They want to know you’re going to stick around and not leave on the next boat that comes along. They’ve seen people come and go here, but in the last two years (the ministry has) really taken off.”
NIV TO BE UPDATED, RELEASED IN 2011 The Committee on Bible Translation, the group of scholars who developed the New International Version translation, will update it for the first time since 1984. With revisions to be finished late next year, the updated version will be published in 2011—the 400th anniversary of the King James Version. “We want to reach English speakers across the globe with a Bible that’s accurate, accessible and speaks to its readers in a language they can understand,” says Keith Danby, Global President and CEO of Biblica.
The last time scholars tried to change the language of the NIV they came up with the Today’s New International Version. The New Testament portion was released in 2002 with the full Bible following in 2005. The gender-inclusive translation was criticized by James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, J.I. Packer and the Southern Baptist Conference among others. William Merrell, then vice president for the Southern Baptist convention relations said, the TNIV was “threatened by intrusion of hypersensitivity and political correctness. You cannot apply the changing cultural mores to determine what the Word of God says.” Committee on Bible Translation chair Douglas Moo says the 2011 NIV will keep and enhance the original values of the NIV for readers. “As a committee, our response to this challenge has always been to follow the example of the original Bible writers who wrote in forms of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek that reflected the language spoken by the everyday working people. Our aim is—and has always been—to translate the Bible into what you might call ‘Koine’ or ‘common’ English,” says Moo. Once the translation is finished, Zondervan will make print and digital versions of the updated NIV. For more information check www.NIVBible2011.com.
FATHER AND SON SHARE ARTISTIC SPIRIT, GALLERY DUTIES A father and son created an art gallery in a tourist village near Waterloo, Ontario in order to exhibit art from a Christian perspective. Derrick Mueller, who resigned as the president of Emmanuel Bible College after a sabbatical, opened the gallery with his son, Caleb. Located in St. Jacob’s Mill Shed and Studio, the gallery also houses Caleb’s graphic arts business. “God made us creative people,” says Caleb, an “A” student who eventually trained at the Emily Carr Institute of Art. He began sketching and drawing early and would often spend more time on the cover of his school projects than on the content. “Art became something I enjoyed doing. It became an expression outlet and I got good at it,” says Caleb. “My dad and mom certainly encouraged me the entire time growing up. They bought me my first design programs: Corel Draw 8 and Publisher.” For Derrick, Thisway Gallery is a return to his artistic roots. In his first career as a photographer, Derrick spent “loads of time” experimenting with emulsions while developing photos. But three years as a portrait photographer—where he took between 15,000 and 20,000 photos a year—jaded him. “I’d win an award with a wedding picture and couldn’t get the bride to buy it,” recalls Derrick, who got to the point, he says, where he lost the artform and didn’t want to see another picture. “But I began to find a way to do art differently,” he adds, which eventually included writing, comedic acting and, now, abstract painting.
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The idea of abstract painting came to Derrick during a trip to New York State, on a visit to an art studio in a building where his daughter-in-law’s uncle had an antique shop. “What I realized was, art’s not whether a person likes it or not; it’s an expression of who we are. Being on sabbatical with my wife at school and the kids working, I started experimented with canvases—just like the guy in New York,” says Derrick. “For me, abstract painting became an act of worship. I respond to the way God’s created me by painting.” The Muellers’ heart for the gallery is to start with their works and then open it to other artists. Derrick has already discovered the joy of having people talk about his paintings—and he wants, eventually, to pass that feeling on to others. “For an artist it means everything, just to know one person appreciated your work,” says Derrick. For more information check www.thiswaygallery.com.
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KIDS DO BETTER WHEN DADS GET INVOLVED
Couples should think about sleeping apart for the good of their health and relationship, says sleep specialist Neil Stanley. He told the British Science Festival how bed-sharing causes arguments over snoring and blankethogging and robs precious sleep. One study found, on average, couples suffered 50 per cent more sleep disturbances if they shared a bed. Stanley, who doesn’t sleep with his wife, says historically we were never meant to share our beds. The modern tradition of the marital bed only began with the industrial revolution, when people moving to overcrowded towns and cities found themselves short of living space. Before the Victorian era it was common for married couples to sleep apart. In ancient Rome, the marital bed was a place for sex but not for sleeping. Stanley, who set up one of Britain’s leading sleep laboratories, says people today should consider doing the same. “It’s about what makes you happy. If you’ve been sleeping together and you both sleep perfectly well, then don’t change. But don’t be afraid to do something different. We all know what it’s like to have a cuddle and then say ‘I’m going to sleep now,’ and move to the opposite side of the bed.” He says poor sleep is linked to depression, heart disease, strokes, lung disorders, traffic and industrial accidents, and divorce, yet sleep was largely ignored as an important aspect of health. Robert Meadows, a University of Surrey sociologist, compared how well couples slept when they shared a bed versus sleeping separately. Based on 40 couples, he found that when couples share a bed and one of them moved in his or her sleep, there’s a 50 per cent chance their slumbering partner would be disturbed. Despite this, couples aren’t keen about sleeping apart. Only eight per cent of those in their 40s and 50s sleep in separate rooms. (www.news.bbc.co.uk)
A new American study shows children do better when their dads get involved with their lives. A three-year study by California’s Office of Child Abuse Prevention looked at the family life of 60 low- and middle-income families. Results, published in the August issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family, found when moms and dads took part in a 16week parenting course together, “their children were much less likely to show signs of depression, anxiety and hyperactivity.” iStockphoto
SLEEP IN SEPARATE BEDS, BE HEALTHIER
“The vast majority of family services— from parenting classes to home visits—are really aimed at mothers, while fathers are almost completely overlooked,” says Kyle Pruett, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine and a co-author of the study. “The best way to create a healthy environment for children is to engage dads and moms together.” The study, Supporting Family Involvement, found men’s involvement rose as they were given the proper tools to be more effective fathers. It also found the relationship between husbands and wives who took the course together became healthier and more stable. (www.todaysfamilynews.ca)
“SEX” IN MIDDLESEX COUNTY BLOCKED Spam filters blocked so many e-mails from the County of Middlesex it had to buy a new domain name. Before the name change, county officials say 15 to 20 per cent of their e-mail, with the suffix @county.middelsex.on.ca, was spammed, blocked or returned as “undeliverable.” The problem came to light when provincial officials told county CAO Bill Rayburn they weren’t getting his e-mails. Then, when large batches of e-mail were sent back as “undeliverable,” it became clear others’ e-mail filters—which block unsolicited messages, including those from addresses selling sex aids and adult Internet sites—were also stopping legitimate county mail. Middlesex County, which lies halfway between Toronto and Windsor along Highway 401, isn’t the only Ontario community with “sex” it its name. But neither Middlesex Centre (part of the county) nor the town of Essex, near Windsor, had the same problems as the county. Essex hasn’t had any complaints, says CAO Wayne Miller. And Middlesex Centre CAO/clerk Cathy Saunders says some mail came as undeliverable because of the “sex” in the address. But the community doesn’t think the problem is major enough to think about a name change. The county changed its e-mail addresses to @mdlsx.ca. Rayburn expects less than one per cent of outgoing e-mail will be sent back with the new address, but says, “even ‘sx’ is going to get caught by some spam filters.” (www.canoe.ca)
CHURCH PARTNERS WITH SATAN A Detroit-area church has come up with a unique marketing partner: Satan. The non-denominational Metro South Church, in Trenton, Michigan, put up thousands of signs around the area using the devil as its poster boy. Created as notes from Lucifer himself, the posters jokingly say the church “makes me sick,” “sucks” or “is killing me.”
Church leaders say the campaign wasn’t meant to offend believers, but as a way to grab people’s attention. “There’s so much noise out there that if you don’t do something that’s a little bit more on the edge, people just ignore it,” says youth pastor Adam Dorband. Lead pastor Jeremy Schossau says the strategy seems to be working. The campaign web site, SatanHatesMetro.com, got more than 7,000 hits in its first two days of going live. Once on the site, visitors learn the devil appears to despise the congregation for helping people connect with God and changing lives—something the site says most churches have failed to do. “We think one of the biggest barriers to getting to know God has been the church itself,” the site states. “It’s predictable and cold at best.” Church leaders say the purpose of their church isn’t to scold people for all the ways they’ve messed up, but to offer a place where believers and nonbelievers alike can look into Christianity without all the finger-pointing. “In short, we’re doing all we can to be the same kind of church described in the New Testament,” leaders say. (www.ministrytodaymag.com)
label the digital video as “safe,” “sexual” or “XXX-rated.” The database keeps growing through input from users and police forces around the world. “There isn’t an automated process that can guarantee a child or spouse isn’t using porn,” says Yarro. “Nothing can replace good old-fashioned supervision, but at least (our program) can speed-up that process and allow parents to stay one-step ahead of a super tech-savvy child.” (from a www.surfrecon.com release)
FATHER, SON BEST CRICKET SPITTERS From the “would you try this” file: a father and son are the best cricket spitters in Wisconsin. Brian Johnsrud spat a thawed cricket 6.8 metres at the Central Wisconsin State Fair. Minutes later, his son Jared shot his cricket 3.1 metres to win the 9-to-11 age division. Brian says the key is to pick the biggest cricket and put it upside down on your tongue. He also says you have to take the deep breath before putting the cricket in your mouth, so you don't swallow the critter. The event drew enough interest that organizers say they’ll make it an annual affair. (www.marshfieldnewsherald.com)
NEW SOFTWARE FINDS HIDDEN PORN The latest version of SurfRecon’s software lets parents and spouses find hidden porn images on home computers. Through a video review feature, they can take apart a video by scene change or individual frames to quickly find porn content possibly hidden or obscured in what appears to be a clean file. The feature lets them view .FLV video files with a “blur” safety tool. “Porn websites are flocking to digital video and .FLV files in particular,” says SurfRecon president Matthew Yarro. “If a computer had nothing but porn videos on it—and no sexually-explicit images—someone checking the computer might think it was clean, when it wasn’t.” The new feature quickly scans a computer for digital videos and accurately categorizes the files. SurfRecon uses the world’s largest database of known-pornoimage-and-video signatures to spot and
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What is Discipleship Training
In depth training to energize your faith and help you discover the freedom and courage to live dangerously for God. Participants focus on four key areas that define a man: 1: Biblical Manhood 2: Sexual Purity 3: Husbanding 4: Fathering One on One leadership coaching from experienced and wise men of God. Peer mentoring with other men on the same journey as you are. A smaller more focused event – limited to approximately 50 participants with small groups of up to only 8 – participants build meaningful relationships with each other and with the Promise Keepers Canada leaders.
Do you have a desire to grow deeper in your faith? Do you want to learn more about the key areas of a man’s life? Go to www.promisekeepers.ca or phone toll-free 1-888-901-9700 for information on a module taking place near you
Connect power and love
THE POWER OF A MAN: USING YOUR INFLUENCE AS A MAN OF CHARACTER By Rick Johnson North American men are confused about what it means to be a man, says Rick Johnson. The Power of a Man is his best effort to bring clarity to “the struggle that most of us men face trying to discover and understand our own masculinity.” Johnson believes that good men “are the key to curing every problem society struggles with.” He takes a hard look at the downside of misguided masculinity, and points to a better way. The book’s best chapters highlight key characteristics of positive manhood, and itemize typical areas where so many fail. He lauds mentors and promotes a code of honour, a set of principles for men to uphold. “I am optimistic that there is a new kind of masculinity taking hold in this country. Men want to lead more rewarding lives and are recognizing that living for others is the path to true satisfaction.”
JESUS LOVES YOU THIS I KNOW: NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE OR WHAT YOU’VE DONE… By Craig Gross and Jason Harper Craig Gross freaked everyone out by blending “the seedy and the sacred” when he launched XXXchurch.com. But people by nature are both seedy and sacred; even though we are created in God’s image, we incline towards trouble. The plain message of Jesus Loves You This I Know is exactly what the title states:
Gross and his friend, Jason Harper, have compiled a collection of stories from their own ministries to declare that nothing can separate us from the love of God. Jesus loves people who are bitter and betrayed. He loves the disconnected, the broken and the forgotten. He loves skeptics, gluttons, crooks and outcasts. He loves porn stars. Jesus even loves religious people. Go figure.
THE CHURCH OF FACEBOOK: HOW THE HYPERCONNECTED ARE REDEFINING COMMUNITY By Jesse Rice Facebook is one of the new facts of life, a well where people thirsty for community come to drink. It’s a social networking phenomenon potentially linking some 200 million users around the world. And it keeps growing. The desire to connect is at the heart of human interaction, and Facebook provides a ready forum. But it also changes the way we engage our friends and build community—for better and for worse. It can be both a mind-bogglingly efficient connecting tool, and an
incredible distraction and procrastination device. Facebook, or other social media, are not going away. How can we adapt to this new environment in healthy, lifegiving ways? Humility and authenticity are the key characteristics needed to draw living water from this deep well. The author provides some practical tips to encourage best Facebook practices.
FORGOTTEN GOD: REVERSING OUR TRAGIC NEGLECT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT By Francis Chan, with Danae Yankowski Not that many years ago a book called The Forgotten Father chided the church for emphasizing God the Son to the neglect of God the Father, and of being preoccupied with charismatic expressions of Christian faith. Now comes Forgotten God, a pastor and Bible teacher’s lament on the stunning absence of the Holy Spirit in contemporary Christianity. “If I were Satan and my ultimate goal was to thwart God’s kingdom and purposes, one of my main strategies would be to get churchgoers to ignore the Holy Spirit,” writes Chan. Forgotten God offers a basic theology of the Holy Spirit and discusses a variety of ways the Spirit does operates in our day and age. It ends with a call for “supernatural church,” a plea for believers to live Spiritempowered lives rather than merely accumulating Bible knowledge.
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Gaining wisdom to win the war within
by John Allen
Harry was brooding over a cup of coffee, thinking about his reputation and himself. The middle-aged man found much to encourage him. He was getting a reasonable amount of exercise and was in decent shape. His relationships with others were pretty good. He had earned the respect of his neighbours and colleagues. He and his wife seemed solid together and the kids were turning out well. By all appearances, he was a stand-up guy. Clearly he was doing a lot of things right.
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But not all was well with his soul. He was seized by a sense of discontent, a sad emptiness at the centre of his very being. “A corrupt laziness governs me,” he thought to himself. Much of his activity seemed unimportant, as though done to impress others while his deeper ambitions—his real life calling—were put on hold. “I retreat into a private world that looks industrious, but it’s mostly a form escape,” he admitted. “I shirk responsibilities elsewhere.” Although he wasn’t aware of it at the time, Harry had just recognized a “capital” sin at work in his life. Sloth (or acedia) is one of the “seven deadly” sins identified by early Christian teachers as the source of other sins, root causes of unwholesome thoughts and bad behaviour. Curiously, Harry’s laziness took the form of activity. He kept himself busy to avoid the hard work of dealing with some deeper areas of his life. The tendency made him passive. He was easy to get along with, for sure, but he began to realize he wasn’t effectively addressing things that mattered more. Harry was nice, but his life was stalling. There were plenty of ways he could be using his time to help other people, but he found it much easier to attend to his own preferences first. So he was apt to retreat to some comfortable place and busy himself with some comfortable project. It was safer. Yet somewhere down deep he knew he could be a better man. Life was happening, and he was just drifting with the flow.
The trouble with Harry And as he peered deeper into the battleground of his soul, Harry spotted still more signs of trouble. He’d thought his lust issues would disappear after marriage. They hadn’t. To his credit, he wasn’t out chasing skirts or hunkering down with porn, but he could still undress a woman with his eyes and wallow in unwholesome sexual fantasies. Harry’s wife was his only bed partner, but you’d never know that if you could read his mind. That old demon lust was not going away. It might retreat for a season, but it always came back. He hated being unfaithful in this way, but he was close to losing hope of ever being able to claim victory. He felt as though a barrier was rising between him and his wife and blamed himself for building it higher. Harry shuddered in private shame. And then a whole squadron of the sins hidden within him surged into his consciousness like soldiers onto a battlefield. Lust and laziness weren’t his only problem areas. Not by a long shot. He was aware that he also struggled with envy. There were lots of things belonging to others that he wanted for himself (and felt that he deserved). Some of his classmates from college had gone much further in their careers then he had, and most of them had much larger pensions. Thinking about these kinds of things made him resentful. It made him grumpy. He knew it made him a pain to be around.
Collateral damage Harry probed these painful areas and began to realize that every choice he made in his life seemed to have some impact for good or bad. He’d done some things right and was enjoying the benefits. But he’d made plenty of wrong decisions too, and the consequences of those were also part of his life. As his coffee cooled untouched before him, he was struck by the fact that he wasn’t just letting himself down when he succumbed to sin. As in any other war, the battle isn’t confined to the battlefield. Others get hurt as well. Collateral damage is part of the deal. Some of us don’t think about these things very much. But in comfortable middle age, Harry could reflect in this vein with better perspective than younger people. And he was well aware that he was not unique. His struggles were common to man. Sin is no respecter of persons. Whether young or old, black or white, rich or poor, foolish or wise— every one of us fails to do the right thing at times. Each of us has some flaw in our character or excuse in our circumstances that inclines us to do bad things. Knowing what is the right (or wrong) thing to do is one thing, but actually making the best choice and following through with it in action is another. While any of us may strive sincerely to be virtuous, it’s still a struggle to make good choices and behave well. This inner battle is as old as Adam and has been the experience of some of the most valiant crusaders against sin who ever lived. The apostle Paul, for example,
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Beyond sin Paul went on to state explicitly that the problem was sin, and that it puts up a battle we are incapable of winning on our own. But sin isn’t the only reality in the world, and we do everyone a disfavour if we dwell on it unduly. At least two other factors must also be a part of the conversation: the presence of virtue, and the gift of grace. If sin bespeaks the truth that much about our world is broken, then virtue reminds us that God made this world, created people in His own image and declared it good. And despite the bad choices that brought sin into our environment, God takes delight in restoring that relationship by erasing the sin and drawing people closer to Him. He loves to extend mercy. In fact, according to Paul, God consigned humanity to disobedience “so that He may be merciful to all” (Romans 11:32). Harry couldn’t quite get his head around that one. The metaphysics or theology seemed awfully complicated, but the result was encouraging. With God’s help it is possible to win at battlefield soul, or at least to keep advancing in the right direction. Successful soldiers, he reflected, follow disciplined procedures.
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And there to counteract the power of deadly sins are vital virtues that can be cultivated. These are attitudes that help to govern our actions and steer our decision-making; habitual and firm dispositions to do the good. For example, those who draw regularly from the well of charity—who make loving God and loving others a priority in their lives—will seldom find greed an overwhelming concern. They will learn to give and receive readily and joyfully. For those who struggle with overindulgence and over-consumption (gluttony), the virtue of temperance (restraint, moderation, sobriety) is a healthy practice. Harry’s problem with envy, he learned, is best counter-acted with the intentional practice of kindness. Similarly, gratefulness is the antidote to resentment. Small victories It may be discouraging to realize that waging such wars within is likely to be a life-long process. But at least we don’t have to be stuck on the same battlefield all the time. We can make progress. We win small victories. We do advance. And Harry and his ilk don’t have to wage the battle against personal sin alone. Preachers, teachers and other companions can help us to understand how God’s ways and laws can change our lives. When the prophet Nathan made King David recognize the error of his ways, he got the full force of the good news/bad news message like a blindside punch. When he was called to account, he
responded personally: “I have sinned against the Lord” (2 Samuel 12:13). He stopped making excuses and realized his position before God—a sinner! He, like us, was person in trouble, a person needing help, a human being in need of God. One of the most misunderstood features about God is this: that a confession of sin isn’t a groveling admission that I’m a terrible person; it doesn’t require what’s sometimes described as beating yourself up. Instead, the good news is to know that the statement “I have sinned against the Lord” is a sentence full of hope. The primary task of the Christian life is not to avoid sin, which is impossible anyway, but to recognize sin. Harry got a good start on that the day he brooded over his coffee. The fact is that we’re sinners. For many reasons we’d rather not realize that. That’s a terrific shame, because the basic fundamental condition of our humanity is God. We’re created by God; redeemed by God; blessed by God; provided for by God; loved by God. Sin is the denial, ignorance or avoidance of that basic condition, and that’s a deadly place to dwell.
put it well when he said: “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate…. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do” (Romans 7:5,19).
John Allen is a writer and editor who doesn’t like his coffee cold.
When legendary singer Johnny Cash died in 2003, one of the millions who mourned “the man in black” was evangelist Billy Graham. “Johnny was a good man who struggled with many challenges in his life. [He] was a deeply religious man. We loved [him],” said Graham. The famous evangelist’s words bear testimony to the unique character of Johnny Cash, a man whose music and spirit were widely admired despite— perhaps even because of—his moral weaknesses. It may seem strange that an entertainer who earned a reputation as a rebel and spent years abusing drugs and alcohol and personal relationships would be so accepted by conservative Christians. Certainly his born-again experience and the gospel albums that followed enhanced his reputation in this community. But there are deeper reasons. Johnny Cash’s life and lyrics were like a morality musical played out on the public stage. He was a man drawn to the bad like a bat to a cave, but a soul who clearly yearned for the good.
At the time of his death, critic David Segal noted that like most country singers, Cash sang about the heartaches and problems that come from too much booze, bad bosses and unfaithful women. But in a creative and unique way he also sang about “himself, and the havoc he could make when he wasn’t minding his soul.” Cash had a way of tapping into the central tension in human existence: the impulse we all feel to do what is right, and the often-overwhelming compulsion to do what is wrong. This is apparent from the beginning of his recording career in the mid-1950s, when “I Walk the Line” soared to number three on the charts. It begins: “I keep a close watch on this heart of mine.” Cash isn’t worrying about his girlfriend cheating. As Segal observes, “he’s sweating the very real possibility that he will screw up.” The same internal civil war plays throughout his life and career, and Cash’s willingness to put his deep baritone voice to work authentically portraying that inner struggle endeared him to millions. He identified with the poor, with prisoners, with outcasts, with everyman—and we identified with him. Cash was no doubt easier to love than he was to like. Just like most of us. — SEVEN
Illustration: Ivan Ulman
Walk the line
faith in a War zone Christian soldiers find hope and perseverance in the battlefields of Afghanistan.
by Jerrad Peters
Padre, I have just killed two Taliban. What do you think God thinks about me? There were children playing on the street when a soldier came to Captain Charles Deogratias with this question. He was sullen and upset, trying to come to terms with his guilt. He was also young and innocent, and wouldn’t have looked out of place in a college classroom or hockey rink. “You look at him, he was not born to kill,” says Deogratias, an army chaplain based at Saint-Jean Garrison in Richelain, Quebec. “He was born to enjoy life. Canadians don’t wake up to kill anybody.” Deogratias took the soldier to a window and showed him the street where the Afghan children were playing. “These kids would not be outside if they didn’t know you were here,” he told the soldier. “In the midst of this chaos, there’s no safety except us. God looks at you as a hero.” The soldier smiled. “I’m so glad, Padre,” he said. “You just helped me think of it in a different way.” Deogratias has been surrounded by
Engineering and construction squadron staff share pizza and conversation after filing the weekly report to Ottawa. Courtesy Henry Berghuis
chaos and suffering for most of his life. He was born in a refugee camp in Rwanda and grew up, as he says, “in the jungles of Africa.” Fortunately for him, he moved to Canada in 1993, just months before the outbreak of genocide in the conflict between Rwanda’s Hutu and Tutsi tribes. Four years later, he met LieutenantGeneral Roméo Dallaire at a speaking engagement. Both men were scheduled to address a York University audience about the Rwandan genocide, and Dallaire, who served in Rwanda as the Force Commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMR) from 1993 to 1994, immediately inspired Deogratias. “I fell in love with his suffering,” says Deogratias. “I find hope in suffering, because suffering has been an integral part of my life. Suffering is my escape.” In suffering, Deogratias found common ground with Dallaire, who had been unable to halt the mass killings in Rwanda. That connection inspired Deogratias, a Presbyterian minister, to enter military chaplaincy.
Henry Berghuis, back row, fourth from right, with some of the construction engineering squadron. Courtesy Henry Berghuis
“I wanted to help those who suffer from the cruelty of humanity,” he says. “These [soldiers], they go with good intentions and it’s sad to see these men and women come back wounded and no longer able to function. I just want to be a listening ear.” Major Harold King likes to tell stories. He’s also a straight-shooter, and enjoys delivering the type of frank and direct sermons befitting a military audience. “Military people don’t beat around the bush,” says King, a chaplain based at CFB Shilo in Manitoba and veteran of two tours in Afghanistan. “They can sniff out BS real quick.” Nevertheless, war zones tend to heighten a soldier’s spiritual sensitivities, giving King a platform for more meaningful, personalized discussion. On one occasion, he recalls, he was returning to Kabul from a shooting range outside the Afghan capital with some Royal Canadian Regiment personnel. It was a long drive, and the hatches of the LAV (light armoured vehicle) were closed up, as much for the heat as the security.
An American soldier is baptized outside the chapel at Kandahar Airfield. Courtesy Henry Berghuis
My first Sunday in Kabul, most of us had been there less than a week. [The soldiers] were getting sorted inside the base; very few of them had been outside. The next day, they were going to go outside the base to start their work. I had a little chapel and was expecting the usual turnout—maybe five or 10 people. We had the meeting in the morning because it was so bloody hot. I had put out benches to accommodate 10 people or so. Well, 15 minutes before the service, they were full. So I went next door to the unit medical station and borrowed some more benches from them, and they filled up. By the time the service started, it was full, and there were people standing at the back of this little chapel. As is my tradition, I offered communion. Every one of them came forward for communion as well. These guys, they needed something real; they needed some assurance. Subsequently, we named the chapel there the Chapel of Good Hope and Perseverance. — Major Harold King
“Okay Padre,” said one of the soldiers, “We’ve got an hour’s drive across the city. Tell us about this God thing.” “So,” says King, “I had an hour with these guys just to talk about their faith journeys and what their concepts of God were. And I introduced to them some other concepts and dispelled some of the folklore, some of the myth. It was a very open conversation.” Major Henry Berghuis, a constructionengineering officer based at CFB Wainwright in Alberta, has found himself in similar situations. Because everyone on base in Kandahar is assuming some personal risk, he says, they tend to ask big-picture questions and openly wonder about their futures, should the worst happen. “Guys know they could die,” he says. “They were just totally open to talk.” For Berghuis, those conversations often involved pizza. There’s a Pizza Hut on base at Kandahar Airfield, as well as a Burger King and Tim Horton’s. Every Tuesday, after filing a report to operational headquarters in Ottawa,
Harold King with a group of children outside a Kandahar orphanage. Courtesy Harold King
Berghuis and about eight other men would have pizza delivered and enjoy a few moments of relaxation. “Invariably, some aspect of religion would come up,” says Berghuis. “It never failed—every Tuesday. A spiritual connection always came up—evolution, homosexuality—it was totally wideranging. I was just glad to be a part of it and put in what I thought was the truth. I would try to push the question, ‘If something happens to you, what does your future hold? Where are you going to be spending eternity?’” Charles Deogratias attributes the heightened spiritual sensitivity to basic survival instincts. Soldiers in action aren’t thinking about buying boats or getting a raise, he says, they’re thinking about lasting into the next day. To be frank, the chaplaincy was a bit of a sore point with me. Chapter 1, paragraph 16 of the Canadian forces’ Chaplain’s Manual reads: “Every soldier has the right to belong to any religion, or to none.
All soldiers, regardless of their affiliation, have need of spiritual values and the right to access spiritual nurture and care.” Henry Berghuis once saw a Wicca ceremony on base in Kandahar. But it wasn’t the ceremony, itself, that particularly bothered him. Rather, he was incensed that the ceremony was taking place with the blessing of the army chaplaincy. He believes the chaplaincy to be too “open-ended” and tolerant. “Some of my friends back here [in Canada] who are God-fearing chaplains, they were steamed,” he says. “They just about lost it.” That not every soldier on base will fall into one of two categories—Catholic and Protestant—is a given. After all, the army is a mostly even sampling of Canadian culture. Various religions and customs are ever present. But, says Harold King, that shouldn’t hinder anyone from practicing their beliefs as they see fit. “I have no problems working with other faith groups on common projects, and I respect their faith journey,” he says. “It’s controversial, and yet I don’t find it so
Soldiers attend service outside Fraise Chapel at Kandahar Airfield. Courtesy Henry Berghuis
Soldiers celebrate Easter at Fraise Chapel. Courtesy Henry Berghuis seven – issue nine november–december 2009 page 19
faith in a War zone controversial. I’m very secure in my role as a Christian pastor. If you ask me if God has spoken to humanity in a variety of ways, [I’ll say] yes. But his full revelation is in Jesus Christ.” According to King, army chaplains exercise a significant amount of latitude in their interaction with members of other faith groups. On one occasion, he accompanied a group of soldiers to a prisoner pickup at a forward operating base. He offered emotional support to the prisoner, and also gave him a Koran. “I’d often go to the community councils with all of the elders from a particular area and hear their concerns,” he adds. It was really neat, because even though I was a Canadian minister, I’d often hear the phrase Christian mullah—spiritual leader. For the most part, they respected that it was about faith. That was a very positive experience.” For his part, King would never oversee a Wicca ceremony. He would, however, arrange for them to have the service, although he would not participate in it. “I will make sure that you have the opportunity and the place to worship as you see fit,” he says. “I have to respect
my calling as a Christian pastor and not pretend to be an imam or a druid. Within the branch we say that we minister to our own, facilitate the worship of others, and care for all.” Is anything good left? What is good? Does God see me as a good person? Is anything good anymore? There was a baptism at Kandahar Airfield while Henry Berghuis was in Afghanistan. He says it happens frequently, but even more so off base and in the field. “They’ll put together a box, line it with plastic and bring the water truck over and fill it up,” he says. “It’s very cool.” Church, it seems, is one of the few aspects of life in Afghanistan that bears some semblance to home. In fact, says Berghuis, you could take a church service from the base and move it anywhere else in the world. “It was a very normal church, except for the fact that we were all wearing uniforms and pistols on our hips.” Their worship included Scripture reading, preaching and praise singing with a full complement of musicians.
But for Berghuis and the Christian soldiers on base, church is much more than just a routine. It’s a way for them to feel a bit of hope in the midst of chaos and death. While Berghuis was in Afghanistan, more than two dozen soldiers were killed. On two occasions, six were killed at once. “There was a week when we had six guys killed, and then a few days later another two or three,” he says. “You just feel like your body is full of lead. You’re barely moving.” Berghuis finds his source of strength— his sense of goodness in the world— from both the church services and his family back home. “For me, personally,” he says, “I know everything is in God’s hands. If anything happens to me, I know my wife and kids are going to be looked after. We have strong family on each side, and God will be there to provide. I have that assurance.” Suffering, says Charles Deogratias, forces people to look to the cross, even if they don’t realize it. “The cross has two things in it,” he says. “The cross has suffering, and it also has hope.”
Jerrad Peters is managing editor of ChristianWeek, a biweekly newspaper covering Christian faith and life in Canada.
Harold King visits with a blind Afghan girl at a Kandahar orphanage. Courtesy Harold King seven – issue nine november–december 2009 page 20
Henry Berghuis celebrated his 45th birthday while on a tour of Afghanistan. Courtesy Henry Berghuis
Charles Deogratias in his office at the Saint-Jean Garrison in Richelain, Quebec. Courtesy Charles Deogratias
remember valour by Doug Koop
Each year, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, my family and I join countless people around the world as we pause to remember the sacrifices of members of the armed forces and of civilians in times of war. We call it Remembrance Day in Canada, and this year the day marks the 91st anniversary of the peace agreement that formally ended World War One. We will remember. What makes it extra special for my family is that we happen to live on Valour Road, an ordinary street in West End Winnipeg nestled between Spruce Street and Ashburn. It used to be known as Pine Street, but was renamed in 1925 because of a remarkable occurrence: three men from the same block were awarded the Victoria Cross for valour in recognition of their heroic acts in World War One. The story of Corporal Leo Clarke, Sergeant-Major Frederick William Hall and Lieutenant Robert Shankland is told in a “Heritage Minute” often seen on Canadian television. How extraordinary is
the fact they grew up as near neighbours? Very. Only 94 Canadians and Newfoundlanders have received this honour, the last in 1945. It is a rare honour. Thus it is a rare honour for us to live on such a storied street. Back in the early 1990s we began attending a commemorative ceremony at a small marker at the end of the street. Then we’d go out for breakfast. Over the years the number of people attending grew to several hundred. Recently the city built a small park with a sculpture of three soldiers and a beautiful mural graces a business building just down the street from my home. So each November 11 my family gathers with many of our neighbours, walking down Valour Road to the park to hear the story of three brave soldiers once again; to observe a moment of silence; to see young soldiers consider the potential cost of their calling; to remember battles past, lives lost and lives saved. We come to remember and we come to pray.
A building mural on Valour Road honours three World War One heroes. Photo: Nathan Koop
As military chaplain Mike Davis once stated so helpfully, we need to “pray for the Spirit of God to invade the culture of war.” I echo that prayer when I visit the Valour memorial. Yes, indeed: May the Spirit of God invade the culture of war.
Doug Koop is editorial director of ChristianWeek and managing editor of SEVEN.
pastor’s p l e a
Seven things your pastor wants you to know but probably won’t tell you by Al Descheneau
1. “I’m a guy, treat me like a guy.” Right off the bat I want you to know that I’m a dude like you, so stop treating me like a chick. I’m so sick of guys apologizing to me when they cuss, as though I might burst into tears or faint. Trust me, I’ve heard those words before...and yes, even used them. And you know what? I like guy stuff too! I don’t spend all my time sitting in my office, cross-legged with a Bible on my lap. I like cars, motorbikes, monster trucks, fishing, shooting, movies where things blow up and even the occasional malt beverage. And yes, I even struggle with all the same guy-issues you do. So, if half the reason you’re not talking to me is because you think we have nothing in common—you’re wrong. 2. “Often I have no idea what I’m doing.” Now, there’s something I’m not supposed to tell you. A big part of me wants to keep up the image that I have it all together, have a 10-year plan and every step I make is guided by God. But that’s just not true. I say dumb things, do foolish things and sometimes I’m so confused by my job that I don’t want to do anything because I’m scared I’ll make it worse. When I stood up and boldly proclaimed that new ministry idea, half of me thought it was a great plan and the other half was certain it would blow up in my face. That’s why I need you with me. I need some courageous, godly men to stand with me, not be afraid to make me defend my ideas. And then I need you to stand beside me when I inevitably throw the fertilizer into the ventilator and it all comes flying back at us. 3. “Sometimes I’m not very spiritual.” It’s true. There are days when I just don’t want to read the Bible, pray, meditate or do anything spiritual at all. I’d
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rather read the paper, watch TV, go for a walk, check my e-mail, get ready for a meeting or just sleep in. You’re not alone in your struggle to stay consistent in your daily Bible reading and prayer life. I’m right there with you. I just thought you should know that. Pray for me just as I’m praying for you. 4. “My job is not as cushy as it looks.” I know some of you fantasize about being pastors because you think it’s such an easy job. Buddy, you have no idea. I may not have much heavy lifting to do, but things do get pretty heavy sometimes. I have a passion for this church and this city and spend more hours thinking, praying, serving and weeping over them than I can remember. I have a heart for
seeing people come to Jesus, but it always feels like our ministries are going uphill with a headwind. There are so many things I want to see done, but I can’t seem to get people to come with me to do them. You might be moved or convicted by one sermon every three months, but I am trying to let every one of them penetrate my heart, every week. On top of that, I have people call me out of the blue with every problem under the sun. They need money, a friend, a job, a place to live, protection from an abuser, freedom from an addiction or an answer from God (they think I can get it for them). And despite my efforts and prayers, I watch marriages and families break up right in front of me—and can’t do anything about it.
There are days that I want to do something else—anything else—because being a pastor hurts too much. But then I remember that I didn’t choose this job: I was chosen for it. 5. “I feel pretty insecure at times.” I have the only job I know of where, even if you are doing your job, people who don’t like you can vote to get rid of you. Imagine walking around feeling that not only is everyone in the community and congregation watching you, but as James 3:1 says, God is going to judge you more strictly than most people! That’s a tough row to hoe. I’m not insecure about my salvation, or God’s love for me, but I get a lot of feedback and it gets to me sometimes. I don’t know what it is, but people feel free to comment about and criticize everything from how I dress to how I parent my children, and everything in between. Everyone seems to know how to do my job better, and they’re not afraid to tell me. “Pastor, what we need is more _______ (outreach, hymns, new songs, prayer, fasting, potlucks, dieting, events, announcements, recycling, small groups, Bible studies, ...).” “Pastor, we need to do less ________ (arguing, worrying, meetings, technology, eating, hymns, new songs, preaching, new stuff, old stuff, ...).” You know when you sent me that email “to help me understand some things”? Well, I got 10 of those and four phone calls—on my day off. 6. “I don’t want to talk to you right before service.” Listen, I love you. I really do! I want to talk to you, hear about your life, your worries, cares, concerns and what God is doing to and through you, your family, your friends and even your pet Chihuahua. I carry a cell phone and
publish my home number in the directory so you can get a hold of me anytime. I have office hours at church and make myself available for meetings in the evenings. I promise that I will be thrilled to chat about anything that is on your mind during any of the other 164 hours in the week. But PLEASE, for the love of Pete, let me have the time before service without a bunch of problems, conflicts and issues that I can’t possibly fix in the half-hour before service starts. Pray for me. Give me a pat on the shoulder say, “Love you, Pastor!” or throw out a hearty “Go get-em!” Ask me if there is anything you can do to help (or better yet, find some way to help without asking), or just give me a smile. Like an athlete before a big game, during that time, I’m trying to get in the zone and there is a lot of spiritual opposition working against me, and I need your help.
folks don’t understand what I do or the struggles I go through. If I get vulnerable with the wrong person, they use it against me. Trust me, it’s happened before. So I guard myself, my ministry, my family, and yes, even you, from that fallout that can happen if I get double-crossed by someone who I thought was my friend. And the cost is that I’m very lonely. Your pastor is probably not the exception, even though he might hide it well. Pray for him. Take care of him. Cut him some slack and help him out. Being a pastor is a tough job and he needs your love, support, prayers, encouragements and willingness to stand up for him when the going gets tough. Thanks for listening.
Al Descheneau is the pastor of Nepean Baptist Church in Ottawa, Ontario.
7. “I’m lonely.” Believe it or not, I don’t have a lot of friends. Sure, I talk to a lot of people, and care for them, and go to a lot of events and even have fun. But when it comes to having a real, tried-and-true, can say anything to guy-friend, I don’t have one. And if I’m like most pastors, then I probably don’t have family around either. I get along with people, but most
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Higher education is a vital gift for children Begin saving early to make it affordable
The most valuable things we offer our children—honesty, respect and love for God—cost nothing. Other requirements involve major expenditures, and the largest may be the opportunity for them to attend college or university. Without financial assistance, our children may have to forego post-secondary education or assume the debilitating burden of a student loan. We owe them the gift of higher education, but can we afford it? Education for children or grandchildren is an investment, and like all investments, the sooner you commit, the greater your reward. This may be difficult to grasp when you are dealing with mortgage payments and the expenses of a growing family. With help from the federal government, qualified investment advice and a little planning, the funds can be amassed over time. Start by opening a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP). An RESP is an RRSP for your children’s education. Contributions to the plan are invested, and earnings from these investments remain free of income tax until applied to the beneficiary’s education, when they are taxed in the student’s hands. Since their anticipated income will be nil or very low, the income tax will be negligible. Unlike an RRSP, you cannot deduct RESP contributions from your taxable income. The federal government, however, may increase the contributions via a Canada Education Savings Grant
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(CESG) and a Canada Learning Bond (CLB). (Residents of Alberta may be eligible for an Alberta Centennial Education Savings Grant.) Depending on the family net income, CESG will add 20, 30 or 40 per cent of the first $2,500 of your annual RESP contribution. If you contribute $200 monthly, this could generate almost $1,000 in additional contributions each year. A CLB will provide an additional amount up to $2,000 to assist modest-income families with children born after December 31, 2003. Grandparents and family friends may open their own plan. You can launch an RESP for a grandchild, niece or nephew, or any child you wish to assist in obtaining a college or university education by naming them as the beneficiary. RESP growth depends on your contributions and your investment decisions. An RESP should be considered an investment, not a savings plan. Two elements that can maximize the growth of your RESP are an early start and professional investment advice. Example: a $2500 contribution made to an RESP on the day your child is born, increased to $3500 with a CESG contribution and averaging an 8% annual return, could grow to almost $20,000 by the child’s 21st birthday! You may contribute a maximum of $50,000 to an RESP, which must be collapsed within 26 years.
What happens if the child rejects postsecondary education? You may choose to: • Wait to see if he or she decides to pursue studies later; • Transfer the plan to a brother or sister who chooses to attend college or university; • Transfer the money to your RRSP (less CESG and CLB funds); • Withdraw your contributions tax-free. Investment earnings are subject to income tax; CESG and CLB contributions must be returned to the federal government. Start with a SIN and a telephone call. The beneficiary of your RESP must have a Social Insurance Number. For information on obtaining a SIN, call 1-800-622-6232 or visit a local Service Canada centre. After the beneficiary is assigned a SIN, an investment counsellor will assist in choosing the best available plan and applying for government support. A study by the University of British Columbia estimated that university graduates often double their lifetime income compared with high school graduates. Higher education also enables us to think clearly and critically about the world, inoculating us against propaganda while teaching tolerance and understanding. All of these qualities contribute to our role as worthy citizens in God’s world. Terry Ruegg is a brokerage associate with FaithLife Financial.
Fleming always made time for God Renowned Canadian engineer and inventor overcame adversity by Ed Hird
When Sir Sanford Fleming first came to Canada, he was told, “Go back to Scotland.” The need for engineers was over. Some were convinced Canada would only need 16 miles of railway in Canada. Fortunately, Fleming loved a challenge. He was passionate about railways, once driving a bear off the railway tracks with nothing but an umbrella and a loud cry. Fleming has since been described as the most outstanding Canadian of the 19th century. Prime Minister John A. Macdonald appointed him as chief surveyor and engineer of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Fleming knew he needed to see the route firsthand. With the Rev. George Grant (who went on to become principal of Queen’s University), Fleming canoed and portaged across Canada in 1872, creating a best-selling travelogue, Ocean to Ocean. The beauty and ruggedness of Canada’s wilderness spoke to the depths of his soul. To complete the Canadian Pacific Railway in just 10 years was an astronomical task, but Fleming always made time for God. Fleming only missed attending church 12 times in his entire life. Sometimes “church” was simply kneeling by the Rocky Mountain railway tracks and giving thanks. On all his surveying trips, no work or travel was done on Sunday if he could help it. He even wrote a worship service that his busy construction crews could use. After the frustration of missing an Irish train, Fleming went on to create Meridian Standard Time in 1878. Standard Time replaced the dangerous chaos of 144 different North American time zones. Every city had its own unique time, none of which agreed with any other city. Standard Time went a long way towards keeping locomotives from crashing into each other because of different clocks. Fleming founded the Canadian Institute, which grew into the Royal Society of Canada. He published a dozen books, served for 35 years as chancellor of Queen’s University. He created Canada’s very first postage stamp—the three-cent beaver. Fleming was knighted in 1897 by Queen Victoria for building the world-circling sub-Pacific cable. For the first time in history, the world could communicate instantaneously around the globe. With membership in more than 70 international societies, he was Canada’s preeminent voice on the world stage. Everyone looked to Sir Sanford Fleming. Fleming was often snubbed, sidelined, criticized but he never let the naysayers stop him from accomplishing his life-goals. Fleming knew that God had put him here on earth to make a difference, to help raise up the nation of Canada from sea to sea. Fleming’s strength came from a deep sense that God would never abandon his children. The Reverend Ed Hird, Rector, St. Simon’s North Vancouver, Anglican Coalition in Canada.
Our most recognizable Canadian photo is “The Last Spike,” celebrating the completion of our national railway on November 7 1885. Fleming, our most famous Canadian engineer, was right there at the centre of the photo.
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Out of my depth
What is the sound of one hand clapping? If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off by Mark Buchanan
It was Jesus who said if your hand is causing you to sin, you should cut it off. Still, I’ve never known anyone to take Him at his word. I know people, quite a few, who pride themselves on “reading the Bible literally.” But none of them has ever read this text literally. Not one, faced with this stark command, has ever chimed, “Jesus said it, I believe it, that settles it.” There are just too many of us with both hands and eyes intact to conclude otherwise. Not all Scripture is meant to be taken literally. But all Scripture is meant to be taken seriously. And though I’m convinced—as are you—that Jesus does not intend anyone to self-mutilate, I’m also convinced he expect us to obey him at all points. So here’s what I think he means: when it comes to sin, don’t give yourself an inch. Sin’s a trickster. It’s insidious and pervasive. It has a way, as Paul laments in Romans 7, of seducing us to commit the very thing we abhor, or to neglect the very thing we adore. I’ve known many men trip back into pornography or substance abuse or some other destructive sin they’ve sworn to all and sundry—wives, children, pastors, friends, God, themselves—that they’re done with. But they never really dealt with themselves ruthlessly. Somewhere, somehow, they gave themselves an inch. God warned Cain, “sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it” (Gen. 4:7). Master it.
That’s a plainer way of saying cut off your hand, pluck out your eye. Don’t give yourself an inch. Deal with yourself without mercy. Refuse half-measures and easy-outs. Don’t minimize, rationalize, blame others. Just deal with it. Now. Fully. Which is good and right. But as a man and a pastor—which is to say, someone who struggles with my own sin and who helps others struggle with theirs—I’ve found it’s not enough just to deal with sin. It’s not enough just to master it. It’s not enough just to cut off your hand or pluck out your eye. What’s also needed is to graft in new hands and new eyes. Removing sin is only half the work. Replacing sin with virtue is the work fully met. To master sin and not also master virtue is a recipe for defeat. It’s a plan for disaster. If seven demons worse than the one cast out invade a house devoid of Spirit, so seven sins more deadly than the one cut off ensnare the man devoid of virtue. I think that’s what the Apostle Peter was writing about in his second letter. There, he promises that God’s “divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness.” He tells us that through God’s promises we can “participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires” (2 Peter 1:3-4; my emphasis).
God’s given you all you need to live sin-free! What man after God’s own heart—what man in his right mind, even—doesn’t want that? But watch what Peter says next: For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love (2 Peter 1:5-7; my emphasis). Peter understood (as well he might) that mastering sin, though necessary, is incomplete. To “escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires” is no small thing. That’s how you avoid looking like the devil. But then what? How do we fully “participate in the divine nature?” How do we go all the way and end up looking like Jesus? By adding virtue to our faith. In fact, by making every effort to do that. Peter names seven virtues—goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. That’s the number the church historically landed on for its list of deadly sins—pride, envy, anger, sloth, gluttony, greed, lust. Seven for seven. That’s a happy coincidence. Or maybe not. Maybe seven is just the right amount—exactly the number of “hands” and “eyes” we need to replace the ones we’ve cut off and plucked out. Mark Buchanan’s recent book, Hidden in Plain Sight, explores the seven virtues of 2 Peter 1.
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Great games. Great toys. Great gadgets. Reviews by Sandy McMurray
www.thinkgeek.com It’s usually bad when a toy gives you an electric shock. Not so with Shocking Tanks. This is laser tag with a twist. Each player has a radio-controlled tank that can move, turn and fire beams of light. If your tank gets tagged, your opponent gets a point. And you get an electric shock. Don’t be alarmed. This is the mild, joy buzzer kind of electric shock, not the hair on fire, struck by lightning kind. Winning a match requires five successive hits to your opponent’s tank. LED lights built into the tanks indicate the score. Handy wrist straps prevent you from dropping the controller when you get zapped. Each set comes with two R/C controllers and two tanks on different radio frequencies. Gentlemen, start your shocking tanks.
www.beardhead.com According to Wikipedia, the name “balaclava” comes from the town of Balaklava, near Sevastopol in Ukraine. During the Crimean War, knitted balaclavas were sent over to the British troops to help protect them from the bitter cold weather. See? You learned something there. This section isn’t just for fun. It’s also educational. Where was I? Oh yes. Modern balaclavas are great for winter sports activities such as skiing,
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Strangely, the women in our lives expect a bit more. Your mother probably insisted you wash behind your ears, and your wife is no different. The fairer sex sometimes asks us to clean up. When a quick splash of cold water isn’t enough, consider the Deck Scrubber. Old Spice says it’s just the thing to scrape off old dirt and sweat and barnacles. To get clean as a whistle, just lather up this manly tool, then scrub yourself fore and aft, above and below deck. Remember: it’s not a loofah, it’s a Deck Scrubber.
3D DIGITAL CAMERA
snowboarding and snowmobiling. When cold winds blow, they help to protect your face and keep you warm. Beard Head is the perfect gift for men who can’t grow their own beards (and for men who can’t spell the word balaclava). Different styles and colours are available, along with extra add-on moustaches.
OLD SPICE DECK SCRUBBER
www.oldspice.com Manly men may find the idea of a loofah sponge a bit girly. It somehow suggests moisturizer and exfoliating and chest shaving. We wash with rocks and dirt when we wash at all, am I right men? (Grunt once if you agree.)
www.fujifilm.ca Megapixels? High definition pictures? That’s so 20th century. This new digital camera from Fujifilm adds depth and dimension to your photos by capturing images in 3D. You don’t even need special glasses; the 3D effect works without special headgear. The process is pretty simple. The FinePix REAL 3D is really two cameras in one, with lenses set a few inches apart. Each time you snap a picture, the camera captures two complete digital images, slices them into thin strips, them combines them to make a new 3D image. As with all new technology, there are still a few bugs to work out. As of this writing, 3D prints can only be printed in Japan, at a cost of about $10 each. Without prints, the 3D images can be
viewed on the camera, which costs about $700, or on a special picture frame that costs about $500. Still, this is the Next Big Thing in consumer electronics. 3D is back at the movies and it’s coming soon to your TV, computer, printer and digital camera. The future is so bright, you won’t have to wear shades.
www.scribblenauts.com One of the coolest video games of the year is also one of the most creative. Scribblenauts for Nintendo DS is a puzzle game in which your words come to life. To solve the puzzles, players write on the screen to request useful objects. If your character needs a ladder, write “ladder” to make one appear. If you need a pot of gold, write “rainbow” and see what happens. Giant robot? Check. Dinosaur? You bet. Part of the fun is writing words on the screen just to see if the game developers anticipated your ideas.
The game works so well because thousands of animated objects were included. Write Anything, Solve Everything! Scribblenauts is puzzlesolving fun for kids of all ages.
SIMPLETOUGH HARD DRIVE
www.simpletech.com External hard drives are great for simple backups of computer data, but not every USB drive is made for travel. You need something that’s small but tough, rugged but not overweight. The SimpleTOUGH USB drive from Hitachi fits the bill. It’s pocket-sized, spill resistant, light and handsome—perfectly suited for travel. You’ll never forget to bring a cable, thanks to the flexible, built-in USB connector. SimpleTOUGH also comes with smart ways to protect your stuff, including automatic local backup software and 2 GB of free online storage, using Hitachi’s “Ultimate Backup” system. It’s not just a pretty package. SimpleTOUGH is a great place to keep your stuff.
HERE COMES SCIENCE
www.theymightbegiants.com Remember Schoolhouse Rock? They might be just as good. They Might Be Giants is a band that writes strange, charming songs. Their recent CDs have focused on learning through music, much like Schoolhouse Rock. The group won the 2009 Grammy for Best Children’s Album (Music) for a kids project called Here Come the 123s. The latest release from They Might Be Giants is called Here Comes Science. It’s a collection of fun and quirky songs designed to introduce kids to colours, photosynthesis, speed and velocity, and the planets. There are some fun extras too, like The Ballad Of Davy Crockett In Outer Space. Here Comes Science is available on CD (music only) and DVD (music with videos). You can also download the songs directly from iTunes.
Sandy McMurray writes about gear, gadgets and games for SEVEN. His new web site is FunSpot.ca
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What women want
Chivalry on life support Unfashionable concept intended to elevate women by Sheila Wray Gregoire If you want a chick flick to make your wife swoon, Kate & Leopold will deliver. Leopold is an English duke from the 1800s who is inadvertently transported in time to modern day. He holds chairs for women. He stands up when they leave the table or enter a room. He rescues maidens in distress. He is chivalry personified. My husband has always held the door for me, but after watching that movie, I suggested that perhaps he could start standing when I left the table, too. He said he certainly would, as soon as I stopped talking about politics in public and started speaking only when spoken to. So we let that one go. Chivalry, though, is largely a forgotten virtue. While we may not want to return to the days of males popping up and down at the dinner table, aiding and protecting women is actually quite sweet. I travel frequently for speaking, and figuring out how I will transfer my carry-on suitcase from the floor into the crowded overhead compartment always causes stress. The suitcase does not seem to want to levitate on its own, and my biceps certainly aren’t sufficient to stuff it up there. Despite a multitude of males among the plane’s passengers, though, rarely does one proffer a hand. I am stuck fighting with this decidedly overweight bag on my own. A few decades ago no self-respecting male would stand by while a female struggled with suitcases. We believed that one of men’s God-given roles was to protect women—an injunction only slightly ahead of “men should have to kill the bugs.” So 18th century men protected women from the filth that flew out of
second story windows every morning when the chamber pots emptied. They protected women from splashes from passing carriages. Nineteenth century men protected them from the seedier side of life, smoking and swearing only in the presence of other males. Then that came to a screeching halt. I don’t think it was the fault of the male gender, though; I think my own gender is mostly to blame. We wanted to be treated like equals, and thus we labelled all attempts at emulating Leopold’s kindness to be sexism. Men who held out a chair or who took a woman’s coat were glared at, shot down and insulted. And so chivalry died. Speaking as one with a graduate degree in sociology, I, too, used to be insulted when men did small things for me. Did they think I couldn’t manage life on my own? Then, one day, it occurred to me: why would I want to? God gave me my husband so I didn’t have to handle all this by myself. Maybe I should let him take some of the burden. Whatever feminists may say, chivalry was not meant to denigrate women; it was meant to elevate them. It was an acknowledgement that men, though they are stronger, have a responsibility to protect the fairer sex. A man is stronger. He has the ability to push women around and to treat them with contempt simply because of his size (and, in days gone by, his economic dominance). For him to care for a woman instead means something. It was saying: you’re different from me. You’re worth pursuing. You’re worth taking care of. What woman doesn’t want to feel that?
Perhaps you’re thinking: What if she doesn’t deserve it? But that’s missing the point. Chivalry’s creed was that God designed men to protect women, and honour demanded it. Women don’t earn chivalry; it is freely bestowed not because of what women do, but because of who men are. To me, it’s actually a lot like grace. If men are to treat their wives like Christ and the Church, then perhaps a return to the days of door-holding males is called for. Besides, not to get too crass, but I think it’s in your best interests. To me, there’s something sexy about watching an elderly man shuffling to get the door for his wife, repeating a ritual they’ve been doing more than 60 years. In return, she looks up at him and beams. She’s proud to be with him after all these years. Chivalry, you see, isn’t something that you only adopt to impress the woman you want to win; it’s something you do to keep honouring the woman you’ve already won. We live in days of gender confusion. We’re supposed to all be the same, but as much as the media and government may try to hoist that on us, we are not. Women have different emotions, different bodies and different needs. Acknowledge those differences, and we feel feminine. Treat us the same, and we become mere buddies. And if you’re interested in doing stuff with your wife you wouldn’t do with your best friend, then maybe you had better start treating her as if she is more special than just a friend. Treat us with gentleness and respect, even if you don’t have to. In fact, treat us that way because you don’t have to. And then watch us melt for you.
Sheila is the author of several marriage books, including Honey, I Don’t Have a Headache Tonight: Help for women who want to feel more in the mood. You can find her speaking at marriage conferences around the country, or at www.SheilaWrayGregoire.com.
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