Tag Archives: Christianity

Canada’s great new business opportunity: prostitution!

By a weird twist of irony, Canada’s 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms is now being interpreted by the Ontario Court of Appeal some 30 years after its immaculate conception by Pierre Trudeau as enshrining the inalienable human right of a certain sort of business people, who carry whips and dress in black leather, to run right proper bordellos that provide good security for their sex slaves—sorry, I mean “sex workers.”
As Raymond de Souza, a columnist at the National Post, wrote concerning this court decision:

In the euphemisms employed by the plaintiffs, prostitutes are “sex workers,” as if they were selling real estate or peddling cosmetics. A more accurate term is “sex slaves” — women forced to turn tricks by their drug dealers, the violent gang culture of the streets, or even abusive boyfriends.
http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/03/26/father-raymond-j-de-souza-if-prostitution-is-a-tragedy-why-make-it-easier/

Yes, of course, the court just knew how we, Canadians, have been chaffing at our previously appalling lack of legal rights to conveniently run our own little whorehouses on the prairie, as it were, in our neighbourhood strip malls! Why heck, don’t bother any more with those stuffy sex-ed classes at Billy and Meghan’s elementary school. It would be much easier to have the teachers plan a field trip to their local House of the Rising Sun for an educational show-and-tell that the kids will never forget.

I’m just so impressed with these judges’ seductive powers of legal reasoning. And, what a clever blow below the belt performed on all those moralistic Canadians who just can’t seem to get it through their heads that being a prostitute in a whorehouse is just as good a career choice as, well, being a judge in a court house. Anywise, it’s getting too hard these days to tell the judges and the whores apart anymore. After all, they both seem to be professionally working in a sort of well-paid position.

But prostitution is not like other professions. Most women cannot be said to “choose” a line of work they have been forced into, and find so disgusting, most of them need drugs to numb their misery (assuming they weren’t addicts beforehand). Those championing the rights of “sex workers” base their arguments on theory, and the word of a small minority of confident, articulate, happy or heart-of-gold hookers who know how to manipulate credulous elites. They would get a very different story from Tania Fiolleau, as I did in a recent telephone interview. Tania got into prostitution when an acrimonious custody battle over her two sons left her penniless and desperate. She eventually ran several brothels, serving as madam to 500 prostitutes. On the outside she seemed to have it all: good looks, money and power, but inside “I was the walking dead,” and “a shell of a woman.”

Tania pours scorn on the liberal image of the prostitute as a working gal like any other. Of the hundreds of girls that worked for her, she says, “not a single one ever said that she did not regret it.” She says many of her former workers are homeless or hopelessly drug addicted; some have been murdered or committed suicide.
http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/08/03/barbara-kay-prostitution-is-an-affliction-not-a-profession/

Of course, don’t blame the judges for upsetting the nation’s sexual apple cart. The judges could only work with what parliament handed them. Our politicians have refused, so far, to make the actual act of a human being prostituting herself or himself illegal. Why? Well, maybe some of our politicians would feel a little hypocritical about debating the legality of prostituting oneself.

So, our elected representatives have only passed the type of laws that regulate the business aspects of prostitution, such as running a bawdy house or living off the proceeds of prostitution, and word of mouth advertising (“communicating”). But the act of human prostitution itself has long been legal in Canada. We haven’t seemed to care if people prostitute themselves as long as they haven’t been able to run a regular business that easily and legally profits from sexual fiddle-faddle.

But now, with this judgment by the Ontario appeal court, all this changes. Now, the judges proclaim, Canada is open to fully exploit exciting business opportunities in prostitution. I wonder how long it will be before some big corporations get into the sex business, opening franchises throughout Canada. It’s probably an easy fit for the hospitality business. Talk about room service! Why Canadian prostitution pros could easily recruit a steady stream of new cheap whores from among the pool of secondary school girls, who are over the legal age to give consent for sexual intercourse (maybe 16 rather than 18 since prostitution is now a legal business), by offering to pay twice as much as competing employers like fast food joints and retail. What a great new Canadian business model. Perhaps, I need to pitch my idea to the Dragon’s Den producers!

Now, you might ask, how does this new profitable business model fit in with other Canadian cultural stakeholders like the Churches, Synagogues, or Mosques? The answer lies in the fact that Canada is officially multi-cultural. It’s been generations since we’ve thought of ourselves as a Christian nation. So if all religions are the same, why shouldn’t Canadians adopt the old Canaanite Fertility religion to go along with our new progressive take on prostitution? If we do this, then the whorehouses could do double duty and serve as house of worship as well as a business.

Prostitution was a big business in the ancient Grecian and Roman empires. But mostly the whores back then were enslaved women or boys. So the trick for the modern prostitution business model will be to get young women and men to voluntarily debase themselves for the least amount of money possible. Who knows? Maybe social media could be a useful tool?

Can you tell I’m angry!? I’m so disgusted with our making black white and white black. It is abhorrent to call prostitution a “career choice” or a “charter right.”

The Bible’s God has something to say to parents when advising their daughters about a career choice:


“Do not profane your daughter by making her a prostitute, lest the land fall into prostitution and the land become full of depravity (Leviticus 19:29 English Standard Version).

To our nation’s parliamentarians and judges the ancient prophet calls out a warning:

Woe to those who call evil good 
and good evil,
who put darkness for light 
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet 
and sweet for bitter!…. for they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts,
and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. Therefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against his people, and he stretched out his hand against them and struck them,
and the mountains quaked;
and their corpses were as refuse 
in the midst of the streets.
For all this his anger has not turned away,
and his hand is stretched out still. (Isaiah 5:20, 24-25 ESV)

And Isaiah adds:

Woe to those who decree iniquitous decrees,
and the writers who keep writing oppression… What will you do on the day of punishment,
in the ruin that will come from afar?
 To whom will you flee for help,
and where will you leave your wealth? Nothing remains but to crouch among the prisoners 
or fall among the slain.
For all this his anger has not turned away,
and his hand is stretched out still (Isaiah 10:1, 3-4 ESV).

Has the Bible’s LORD God changed His mind about what nourishes the human spirit and what crushes it? Do you think God has changed his mind even a little bit about prostitution? Or the personal consequences incurred by those who promote and profit from what He hates? As the Apostle Paul once wrote:

Unjust people who don’t care about God will not be joining in his kingdom. Those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex, use and abuse the earth and everything in it, don’t qualify as citizens in God’s kingdom (1 Corinthians 6:9 The Message).

Who was the original Christmas grinch?

I challenge you to search the Bible from one end to the other to find a reference to the Christmas celebration or any mention of the early Apostolic church celebrating Christ’s birth on December 25. I’m not talking about the gospel accounts describing the birth of Jesus at Bethlehem during the Fall [late September early October]—as the gospel accounts themselves and known historical facts reveal. I’m talking about scriptural proof that would establish that the early Church of Peter and Paul taught the observance of Christmas in late December or at any other time of the year. In fact it was nearly 300 years after the death of Jesus of Nazareth and his apostles before the Roman Catholic Church invented Christmas. During the period of Oliver Cromwell’s Puritan Commonweath in both England and the New England colonies, about 1640-1660, the celebration of Christmas was forbidden:

During this brief period, the English Parliament banned the celebration of Christmas entirely, considering it ‘a popish festival with no biblical justification’, and a time of wasteful and immoral behavior.
See http://www.olivercromwell.org/faqs4.htm

The bottom line is that the celebration of Christmas is merely a human tradition having no divine sanction. Its origins rest with the Roman Catholic Church in the mid-300s A.D. Would Jesus himself condemn the Christmas celebration? Consider this comment that he made regarding man-made religious traditions developed, supposedly, for the purpose of honouring God:

These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God (Matthew 15:8-10 New Living Translation).

How ironic. What the Bible does teach about true spiritual holy days and practices in the Law of God, for example in Leviticus 23, people mostly ignore and fail to reflect upon. While what the Scriptures do not teach—or even teach against—that, people do. And, they do such things while justifying themselves by saying they’re honouring God and Jesus. We should rather consider carefully what the Scriptures are actually telling us:

And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they [Mary and Joseph] brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel [and now throughout the entire world], and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed” (Luke 2:22-25 English Standard Version).

Of course, for many people any excuse such as Christmas is a good excuse to go shopping and to have a party. But the fact remains that Jesus and his apostles were the original Christmas grinches! They didn’t keep it. Rather they kept the Holydays found in Leviticus 23. Christmas is nothing but bait and switch humbuggery. The sooner this world learns to discern between true biblical reality and the popular alluring counterfeits such as Christmas masquerading as a Christian festival, the sooner we will experience a global blossoming of genuine peace on this earth. As Jesus taught:

Do not think that I have come to do away with or undo the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to do away with or undo but to complete and fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until the sky and earth pass away and perish, not one smallest letter nor one little hook [identifying certain Hebrew letters] will pass from the Law until all things [it foreshadows] are accomplished. Whoever then breaks or does away with or relaxes one of the least [important] of these commandments and teaches men so shall be called least [important] in the kingdom of heaven, but he who practices them and teaches others to do so shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness (your uprightness and your right standing with God) is more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:17-20 Amplified Bible).

A Lesson from Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse: dishonouring parents brings a curse

What remains to be said about the tragic death of the famed jazz-soul singer Amy Winehouse? Well, in the secular press you’ll find lots of comments that go something like this: A short sad life, such a waste of talent. Too bad. All true, but not very illuminating or helpful for others.

The Economist news magazine made a deeper analysis in its obituary of Winehouse with this observation:

“Perhaps above all, her life was a lesson in the dangers of early, overwhelming fame—and an admonition to a popular culture that, like a primitive religion, revels in the destruction of its gods” (“A losing game,” Aug. 4, 2011).

Not bad! But still there is a more profound lesson that may be drawn from Winehouse’s recent induction into Club 27’s list of notable dead young musicians that includes: Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and Brian Jones among at least 43 others.

While I don’t believe in magic, I do believe that there is such a thing as a curse. The Bible warns:

“For people who hate discipline and only get more stubborn, there’ll come a day when life tumbles in and they break, but by then it’ll be too late to help them” (Proverbs 29:1 Message version).

Amy Winehouse’s parents, Janis and Mitch Winehouse, a few years ago publicly lamented how their daughter’s remarkable, explosive career as a singer/songwriter [her 2006 album Back to Black won a record 5 Grammys] pushed them to the fringes of her new, highly successful but also highly stressful life.

From Mitch and Janis Winehouse’s perspective, their beloved little girl was transformed seemingly overnight into a popular culture music “god,” who was now surrounded by an entourage of “cool” drug-abusing music scene types and tabloid media hacks who fed off her like sharks at feeding time. Their “little angel Amy” became bad girl Winehouse who could be counted on for a good time by music scene low lifes and a stream of outrageous headlines for the tabloid rags. For years Winehouse’s lifestyle of binge drinking, occasional violence, and poly-drug abuse amply fed these various parasites while simultaneously driving her parents to despair.

The Winehouse family tried repeatedly to intervene in their daughter’s life because they knew she needed rescuing from her own self-destructive behaviour. But their efforts availed little because Amy refused to fully cooperate with her parents and change her lifestyle. After all, overcoming addiction and other destructive behaviours requires a meaningful commitment on the part of the one with the problem. In spiritual language this is called repentance.

For those willing to hear—making the Fifth of the Ten Commandments part of your lifestyle offers protection from the personal unhappiness that comes from practicing the primitive, self-destructive religion lived by so many of today’s ”entertainment false gods.” In contrast to depression, unhappiness, violence, and addiction, the Fifth Commandment offers the blessing of strong families and peaceful, happy lives. Such a good blessing is explicitly promised by that commandment:

Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you. Deuteronomy 5:16 (NKJV)

Of course, this vitally important principle of living was not just taught by the Old Covenant. The Apostle Paul made sure it was thoroughly ingrained in the ethos of the nascent Christian church:

Children, obey your parents in the Lord [as His representatives, His co-Creators in your existence], for this is just and right.
Honor (esteem and value as precious) your father and your mother—this is the first commandment [or “the preeminent commandment”] with a promise—
That all may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth. Ephesians 6:1-3 Amplified version.

It should be noted that the Fifth Commandment was not just directed to young children who are still living at home with their parents. Jesus Christ made the specific point in the Gospel of Mark chapter 7 verses 10-11 that it continued to be the duty of adult children!

God’s law, His Moral Logic of the Universe always works—doesn’t matter whether you believe there is a God or not —it works for both believer and non-believer. This was a core teaching of the Apostle Paul:

When the Gentiles [non-Jews] sin, they will be destroyed, even though they never had God’s written law. And the Jews [Amy Winehouse was Jewish], who do have God’s law, will be judged by that law when they fail to obey it. For merely listening to the law doesn’t make us right with God. It is obeying the law that makes us right in his sight. Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right. And this is the message I proclaim—that the day is coming when God, through Christ Jesus, will judge everyone’s secret life (Romans 2:12-16 NLT

Amy Winehouse very publicly failed to obey the Fifth Commandment. Consequently, she also failed to receive the commandment’s promise of long life, well-being, and a happy family of her own. Instead she got the curse of an early, untimely death. This is the totally un-PC lesson you’ll never read about in the secular press. But it is the truth.

WHY CIRCUMCISION?


By Jean Jantzen and Jeff Patton

Circumcise a boy baby in San Francisco and you could face a year in jail under a proposed San Francisco bylaw that will be put to voters in November (“San Francisco Could Ban Circumcision,” Tristin Hopper, National Post, May 20, 2011). The article also stated that infant circumcision has been in rapid decline in the United States in recent years. In 2006, 56% of American newborns were circumcised. Just three years later in 2009 that number was only 32.5%. In Canada about 31% of newborns are circumcised each year according to a 2007 survey.

As a grandmother of twenty-seven grandchildren, sixteen of them boys, the question of whether to circumcise or not was hotly debated at our family gatherings. I heard both sides of the argument. If God created little boys with a foreskin why should we mess with nature? On the other hand, Jesus was circumcised so why shouldn’t we follow His example? Which perspective is right? Those family discussions challenged me to look into the circumcision question.

Circumcision is the surgical removal (cutting off) of the fold of skin that normally covers the glans (head) of the penis. This double layer of skin, sometimes called the prepuce, is more commonly known as the foreskin.

The first mention of circumcision is found in Genesis 17: 11-13 in which God told his friend Abraham: “Every man child among you shall be circumcised. And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant between me and you.”

Ever since then, periodically, a cutting edge contention has swept various communities, both religious and secular. In the first century A.D. there was a hot debate about circumcision among the religious leaders of the new Christian Church that threatened to split the Church. In Acts 15 the question about whether adult non-Jewish (uncircumcised) adult men needed their penis foreskins’ to be circumcised in order to be spiritually saved was discussed and finally resolved at a major church council.

This famous Jerusalem council decided that while certain parts of the Levitical law were indeed required to be kept by the non-Jewish converts—for instance, abstaining from food sacrificed to idols or eating animals that had been killed by strangulation, not eating any food products made with animal blood, and not practicing sexual immorality [see Leviticus chapters 17 & 18]—the circumcision of adult males was ruled as not being required of the new Gentile converts.

It should be pointed out, however, that this ruling did not change or even discuss the status quo concerning the infant circumcision being practiced by the believing Jewish Christian community, who comprised the majority of church members at that point in time. The Jewish community, both then and now, circumcise a boy baby on the eighth day after birth as the price of admission to the Old Covenant Hebrew community. Even today, any non-Jewish adult male who wants to ethnically become part of the Jewish community under the Old Covenant must still be circumcised. The Jerusalem council, however, decided Gentile converts did not have to become ethnic Jews first in order to become part of the new Messianic/Christian community. These new members could retain their Greek, Roman, or other Gentile ethnic identity and yet still become a Christian. In taking this position the new Christian community insured that it would be seen, eventually, as something more than being merely one among many of the different sects of Judaism. Christianity would become a universal belief system rather than an ethnic identity caught up in this world’s interminable ethnic/nationalistic struggles that have forever dogged humanity.

But this didn’t mean the question of circumcision disappeared from the Church’s concerns. In fact, the issue of circumcision for the new New Covenant Christian community became, if possible, even more important. Why? Because to become a true Christian rather than just a “Christian” in name only, a nominal Christian, there must take place a genuine spiritual circumcision of the heart (repentance and conversion) by an adult convert, whether male or female. Unless this true, spiritual form of circumcision occurred there would be no salvation under the terms of the New Covenant! The Apostle Paul summed this point up by saying the necessary rite of circumcision was no longer external but internal, being a matter of the heart (I Corinthians 7:17-18).

Even though I knew that physical circumcision was no longer a necessary ritual for adult Christians, I continued to believe there must be some health benefits if God commanded his chosen people, the Hebrews, to be circumcised. However, I never stopped long enough to find out if the Biblically specified method of circumcision was the same as the one performed in our hospitals today.

The technique of circumcision initially was only to remove the “preputial tissue” that extends beyond the tip of the glans penis (1700BC-140AD). The mohel (person designated to perform ritual) grasped the foreskin with the fingers, “which pulled the skin of the shaft upwards. The shield was then slid into place, and the tissue above the slit quickly sliced off. This preserved most of the sensitive inner mucous membrane lining of the prepuce.” For two thousand years in this fashion the Abrahamic covenant was fulfilled, males appeared intact and much of their sexual sensitivity was preserved. (George C. Denniston, MD M.P.H. “Modern” Circumcision: The Escalation of a Ritual http://weber.u.washington.edu/~gcd/CIRCUMCISION/v1n1.html).

The Biblical method was quicker than the Gomco Clamp or the Plastibell methods; it took less than one second and the pain only lasting for an instant. Whereas, the modern methods can last up to twenty minutes and the baby may suffer excruciating pain. The two modern methods, which were put into use some sixty years ago, remove much more foreskin than God intended and is a much more radical than the original Biblical circumcision. Why did modern techniques depart so radically from the much more conservative Biblical approach? Most Jewish males are unaware of the “tragic escalation” in technique that had nothing to do with the Covenant. The rabbis agreed to remove even more foreskin to prevent the Jews from trying to pass as Gentiles. (George C. Denniston, MD M.P.H).

According to the19th-century medical point of view, Jews were purported to be morally and physically superior to non-Jews. The reason given—circumcision (cf. Dr. Peter Remondino, History of Circumcision from the Earliest Times to the Present).

A Jewish physician, Dr. Henry Levien of New York wanted to medicalize circumcision, and to remove it from “religiously trained mohels and to put it in the hands of trained surgeons. During the 1890s, medical journals frequently reported the many infant deaths that occurred at the hands of mohels. This movement parallels the removal of midwifery into the hands of the medical profession. Protestant Christians wanted to have what they imagined to be—the moral and physical advantage—in order to “validate scientifically the wisdom of the Bible” (The Right to Our Own Bodies: The History of Male Circumcision in the U.S. by Frederick Hodges and Jerry W. Warner).

But for us in North America who do not believe in this practice, it is interesting to discover—why circumcision? At the turn of the century, circumcision had become a panacea. Amputation of the foreskin was “scientifically proven” to cure and prevent diseases ranging from insanity to epilepsy, malnutrition, hip-joint disease, paralysis, eczema, tuberculosis, headache, hysteria, alcoholism, criminality, and heart disease” (Hodges and Warner). The genitals were thought of as dirty. And, since cleanliness is close to godliness, “increasingly they [the Victorians] identified personal cleanliness with good morals, sound health, and upright character. From this premise it followed that circumcision should be considered preventive medicine and practiced universally as a matter of public health” (David L. Gollaher).

“Why are Jewish women comparatively free of cervical cancer? Medical researchers now agree that this spectacular freedom results from the practice of circumcision in Jewish men—which God ordered Abraham to institute four thousand years ago. A number of recent studies have borne out the fact that freedom from cancer of the womb is not due to factors such as race or food or environment, but wholly to circumcision.” (None of These Diseases S.I.McMillen MD.)

As parents, we only want to do what we feel is best for our child—right? But, unless we research each of these issues for ourselves, how can we make an informed decision? What you decide about circumcision will affect your child for the rest of his life, both physically and psychologically. So you want to be sure you are making the right decision.

First, let’s examine the part we want to have removed and what its function is?

The foreskin is one of the most erotically sensitive parts of the penis. It represents 50% to 80% of the skin system of the penis, depending on the length of the penile shaft. It is a unique and highly complex organ. The average foreskin has over three feet of veins, arteries, and capillaries, 240 feet of nerve fibers, and over 1,000 nerve endings. If unfolded, the adult foreskin would measure 20 to 30 square inches. The foreskin plays a large role in sexual function. The foreskin has glands that produce a natural moisturizer and lubricant called smegma. Smegma serves the same purpose as tears do in the eye: it keeps everything moist, clean, and lubricated (by Frederick Hodges and Jerry W. Warner).

At birth, the foreskin is tightly attached to the glans or head of the penis. It is like the skin attached to our hand. In order to circumcise or remove the foreskin it must be separated from the glans by force. There are many articles attesting to the fact that this is an excruciatingly painful procedure. According to George C. Denniston, MD, M.P.H. “At birth, the separation of the foreskin from the glans has just begun. The newborn’s penis is, of course, not yet fully developed. Not only does circumcision interfere with its development, but it requires that the surgeon tear the skin from the sensitive glans to permit removal. As a result, scarring occurs, the surface of the glans thickens, and the urinary opening often gets smaller” (Unnecessary Circumcision).

If left naturally, the infant’s intact foreskin will protect the penis from urine and feces and will gradually separate itself from the glans. It cannot be drawn back and trying to do so will injure and cause unnecessary scarring. By the age of four or five, and sometimes much later, the foreskin will be able to be retracted in order to expose and cleanse the head of the penis.

If you decide to circumcise your baby shortly after birth, or later on, you should know what methods are used and how much of the foreskin will be removed. Have you asked your doctor what he knows about circumcision? We know that on the eighth day, Vitamin K is at its highest level. Vitamin K helps the blood to clot. If baby boys are circumcised on this day it prevents excessive bleeding that may occur if they are circumcised right after birth, which the doctor’s usually do for their convenience. “Four thousand years ago, when God initiated circumcision with Abraham, He said, “And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised. “Abraham did not pick the eighth day after many centuries of trial and error experiments….it was a day picked by the Creator of vitamin K.” (None of These Diseases S.I.McMillen MD.)

When the doctor does this procedure he will use either of the following two methods. “The Gomco clamp is a metal cone which fits over the glans and lies between it and the prepuce. The distal foreskin is then removed. The Plastibell consists of a plastic cone which fits over the glans. The foreskin is stretched over this and a ligature is applied at the base. The distal foreskin is excised. The base of the Plastibell is left in situ; the rest of the cone is removed. This base falls off in a few days” (The Problem of Infant Routine Circumcision). If our doctors are not trained properly, or have little knowledge of the function of the foreskin, how do they know how much foreskin is too much or too little? Ask questions. Be informed. Tell the physician how much skin to remove.

We need to be present during the procedure and tell him (in fact, demand) our preferences. Remember when the father was not allowed to be with the mother during the birthing process. In the twenty-first century it would be unthinkable to not give comfort and support to a woman in labor. How much more should we support and comfort our newly-born child during the circumcision process? If we cannot gather the courage to be with our son during this procedure, maybe it would be better to not have the circumcision done.

Dr Pollock, Canada’s most experienced circumcision provider, has safely completed over 30,000 infant circumcisions over the last two decades taking less than 30 seconds to perform while virtually bloodless and painless. He says circumcision reduces risk of urinary tract infection, penile cancer, sexually transmitted diseases and a 60% reduced risk for HIV. (pollockclinics.com) Another doctor responded this way in the National Post to the circumcision controversy : “I am a retired physician and father of two boys. I agree with Dr. Neil Pollock that the need for circumcision is not in question, and it is best done shortly after birth. Just as the mother produces endorphins during labour that helped her tolerate the pain of childbirth, her newborn son also has circulating endorphins ameliorating the pain produced by a not-so-gentle arrival process.”(Don’t Wait to Cut Dr. Warren Hindle, National Post, April 9,2011)

To conclude, the spiritual significance of circumcision is what is even more important for us as Christians today. God’s word thunders out over the millennia:

12 “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good? 14 Indeed heaven and the highest heavens belong to the LORD your God, also the earth with all that is in it. 15 The LORD delighted only in your fathers, to love them; and He chose their descendants after them, you above all peoples, as it is this day. 16 Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer. Deuteronomy 10:12-16 NKJV

It is interesting to note that from the LORD’s point of view being “stiff-necked” is synonymous with uncircumcision (Acts 7:51). He said, “Circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live,” Deuteronomy 30:6 (ESV).

The bottomline with physical circumcision is this: our bodies are temporary and physical life is short. Physical circumcision is not essential for salvation for those living under the New Covenant. However, physical circumcision does provide some potent and scientifically demonstrable health benefits as does applying the spiritual understanding that comes from practicing the rest of the “principles for living” found in God’s commandments, statutes, and judgments, such as refraining from eating blood or sexual immorality.

Remember what the Apostle Paul said in Galatians 3:29, “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” If you are parents expecting a child and you value your heritage as the physical or spiritual descendants of Abraham then you will want to follow Abraham’s example. God said of Abraham,

“I will cause your descendants to become as numerous as the stars of the sky, and I will give them all these lands. And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed. 5 I will do this because Abraham listened to me and obeyed all my requirements, commands, decrees, and instructions.” Deuteronomy 26:4-5

The decision is up to you!

http://www.blumenthalclinic.com.au/content_common/pg-circumcision-procedure-sydney.seo

Circumcision Information
• 
As a specialist Obstetrician, Dr Blumenthal gives you expert advice on this operation.
• Eliminates the risk of phimosis, which affects 1 in 10 older boys and men. This condition refers to a tight foreskin that cannot be pulled back fully, so making cleaning under it, and passing urine, difficult.
• Reduces by 3-fold the risk of inflammation and infection of the skin of the penis. One in 10 uncircumcised men gets inflammation of the head of the penis and foreskin.
• Over 10-fold decrease in risk of urinary tract infection. Whereas risk of this is only 1 in 500 for a circumcised boy, 1 in 50 uncircumcised male infants will get a urinary tract infection.
• Over 20-fold decrease in risk of invasive penile cancer.
• One in 600 uncircumcised men gets penile cancer, which usually requires penile amputation or disfiguring surgery.
• Uncircumcised men have 1½ – 2 times the risk of prostate cancer, which affects 1 in 6 men.
• Reduces by approximately 3 to 7 fold the risk of getting HIV (AIDS), during sex with an infected person.
• Circumcision also affords substantial protection against thrush as well as sexually transmitted infections such as papilloma (wart) virus and syphilis.
• Circumcision reduces by up to 5 times the risk of the man’s female partner being infected by Chlamydia or getting cervical cancer (which is caused by human papillomavirus). The load of infectious bacteria and viruses that accumulate under the foreskin is delivered into the female genital tract during sex.
• If not circumcised soon after birth, up to 10% will later require one anyway for medical reasons.
• Credible research shows that most women prefer the appearance of the circumcised penis. They also prefer it for sexual activity. Hygiene is one reason; increased contact of the penis with the vaginal wall, and stimulation, are others.Eliminates the risk of phimosis, which affects 1 in 10 older boys and men. This condition refers to a tight foreskin that cannot be pulled back fully, so making cleaning under it, and passing urine, difficult.
• In general, sexual function and sensation are the same or better in circumcised men. The problem of overly tender sensitivity of the head of the penis experienced by most uncircumcised men is virtually eliminated.In general, sexual function and sensation are the same or better in circumcised men.

When compromise becomes the language of the Devil

When my youngest son wants to do something I’m not too excited about, we’ll talk together and come up with a compromise solution in which each of us gives a little so that the household can continue on in harmony.

Compromise is a normal part of the give and take of any family or human relationship. We adapt our personal preferences and opinions for the greater good of getting along with another. That’s normal.

But when it comes to the moral logic of the Universe and the demonstrable truth of the Judeo-Christian scriptures about what is right and what is wrong, it has always been required of Christians in every epoch of history to draw a line in the sand over something with which they cannot compromise.  To accept the sinful cultural practices of their time or civilization would have been anathema.

For first century A.D. Christians it was not offering a pinch of incense on the Roman altar of state in order to acknowledge that Caesar was supreme: a small act of Roman paganism that clearly violated the Bible’s first commandment:

Then God gave the people all these instructions: “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery. You must not have any other god but me” (Exodus 20:1-3 NLT).

Many thousands of Christians were hideously murdered by the barbaric Roman state for refusing to compromise with the “most noble Caesar, the civilized world’s benefactor” and just offer that little act of worship.

For post-modern Christians living in the 21st Century, there is now a tremendous pressure to conform to what may be labelled “politically correct paganism,” which like all the pagan ideologies of the past, essentially worships and exalts human ideas of right and wrong above the divine ones taught by the Hebrew and Greek scriptures.

In the latest edition of a sorry series of similar events, a biblical-values sensitive, conservative Anglican congregation was forced out of its long-held church property—St. Albans Anglican Church on King George Street—at which they had been meeting since before Canadian Confederation in 1867 by the “politically correct” Anglican Diocese of Ottawa. The issue was same sex marriage.

The pastor of this forced-to-leave congregation, George Sinclair, said:

The move was “an issue of conscience, and for us, conscience trumps building …
A church that just has the building, but does not have the dreams and visions that come from God, is on its way to dying … If you end up thinking you’re smarter and nicer and wiser than the master [Jesus Christ], in what way are you still his disciple? … The Bible is very clear on certain things, as to what is right or wrong.”
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/life/Anglican+Church+followers+find+home/5008958/story.html#ixzz1QcGf00LT

These conservative Anglicans came to understand that when it comes to sin—compromise is indeed the language of the devil.

Sin? What is sin? Why can’t one compromise with sin?

The Apostle John gave a succinct defintion of just what sin is:

“Everyone who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4 NRSV).

The law that the apostle was referring to is God’s law as contained in the Hebrew and Greek bibles—not Canada’s federal and provincial law, not even the rules and policies of the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa.

God’s law divides behaviour and thought patterns into those that are permitted, generally called “righteousness” and those that are forbidden, which is “sin.”

Spiritually speaking, there are serious consequences for those who deliberately chose to live sin-full lifestyles. As the Apostle Paul wrote:


For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23 NLT).

The reason no one can compromise with sin and get away with it in the long run is because…well, without God we’re just dead meat. The Bible does NOT say you have an immortal soul! The scriptures clearly teach that eternal life is only for those who belong to Christ and who are resurrected from among the dead (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:23).

The whole purpose of Jesus first coming and His sacrifice was to rescue His people from the consequences of sin. We cannot cuddle up to or give ourselves permission to do what the Scriptures say is wrong and not pay the price! Again, listen to this warning from the Apostle John:

Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous. 8 But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:7-8 NLT).

Canuck Fans Run Riot for their Obsession!


Whenever Islamic fanatics’ religious sensitivities are sufficiently stirred up–say by an unflattering event like the publication of an editorial cartoon that mocks their star player from Mecca and so hurts their self-esteem –then those fans riot in the streets. They love to make the world hear their violent expressions of support for their hometown teams of radical ayatollahs and mullahs. So, in consideration of last night’s riot in downtown Vancouver following the Bruins-Canucks game, is there really much of a difference between those humourless jihadis and our wickedly narcissistic Canucks’ hockey “fan-atics”?

After all, both like to occasionally go out for an exciting evening of burning cars, looting, and mixing it up with the regime’s police in the name of their obsesssions!

You know, evidently, some Canuck fans can be very deceptive. On the surface they seem like such a calm, agreeable people. Probably they think of themselves as progressive, peaceful, good people. But when it comes to hockey, they’re incendiary fan-atics. They are sports pagans with more than a few loose screws. And last night they showed the world what their belief system was all about: it’s all about me being as despicable and violent as I want and I don’t mind if the whole world knows.

Why, those sports pagans were so proud of their riotous worship last evening that they took all sorts of photos and videos of themselves with their mobile phones in order to proselyte their friends on YouTube and Facebook about their new doctrine (“Thou shalt not be hesitant to act like a flaming jerk to thy neighbour or thy neighbour’s property”).

Indeed, for many of these 20s-something young people in downtown Vancouver last night, this was their first real opportunity to prove to us their level of zeal as new converts to sports paganism by hopping up and down on burning cars. After watching a number of videos posted on the Internet, I do wonder just how many bystanders were also caught up in this pagan worship by cheering on the fan-atics as they performed their violent rituals celebrating the power of spiritual darkness.

Seriously, Canada’s generalized hockey obsession does occasionally bring out the worst in some people. Consider the hockey riots of 2010, 2008, 2006, 1994, 1993, 1986, and even 1955. This is a recurring problem that has a lot to do with the fact that many of these fan-atics lack a solid ethical and moral foundation based on the Judeo-Christian scriptures. If they did, they would have known that it is written:

“You must not follow a crowd in wrongdoing” (Exodus 23:2 Holmen Christian Standard Version).

There will be much hand-wringing by various public officials about this Vancouver riot for some time. But I promise you that nothing will be done to really get at the heart of the problem—which is spiritual. You cannot turn your back on the God of the Bible and push His teachings out of the public square and expect anything but bad results. We are now beginning to reap the bad that we as a society have sown. Take warning because times are going to get worse. For your own safety, do not hang around with these sports fan-atics.

In the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that (2 Timothy 3:1-3) New Living Translation)!

Harold Camping and other Apocalyptic Imposters

As amazing as this lovely sunny Victoria Day weekend may seem, the American radio evangelist, Harold Camping and his followers, who are mostly evangelical Protestants, are adamantly expecting and vociferously announcing to the world that there will be a massive earthquake rolling around the planet through its various time zones on May 21st at about 6 p.m. The earthquake, according to these people, who strongly proclaim themselves to be Bible-believing Christians, will signal their Rapture to heaven as Christ’s true believers, and the beginning of Judgment Day upon the ungodly who are left behind. Or, so they think.

Camping, using a ton of money given to him by his “sheep,” has paid for more than 2,000 billboards, many full-page advertisements in major newspapers, and countless radio programs in order to broadcast and publicize this latest incarnation of an End of the World prediction addiction.

To the liberal media, people like Harold Camping are indeed made in heaven! Mostly secular and cynical, the press has long had a morbid fascination for people like Harold Camping They’re great for the “news” business! Besides, from their perspective, such weirdo prophecy bugs can serve as useful straw-men in the ideological political struggle between left and right over the role of Biblical morality in our society. After all, according to press’ logic, if someone like Harold Camping, who proclaims himself to be such a strong believer in the Bible, actually reveals himself to be a complete moron, then anyone else who believes what the Bible teaches must also be one. Thanks Harold for making their job so easy!

Harold Camping is ignorant of what the Bible teaches. He has loudly and widely misrepresented Scriptural teachings bringing disrepute onto the name of God, Jesus Christ, and the Church. Shame, shame, shame on him! Camping should have bothered to take the time to read Matthew 25:1-13:

1 “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
6 “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ 7 Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.
11 “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ 12 But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’
13 “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.

These are trying times for all believers. People like Harold Camping—who are spouting pride, deception and doctrinal lies—are just making life difficult for both you and for me by bringing Christianity into disrepute. Listen to what the Apostle Paul wrote to his coworker Timothy about these times:

1 You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. 2 For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. 3 They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. 4 They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. 5 They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!
6 They are the kind who work their way into people’s homes and win the confidence of vulnerable women who are burdened with the guilt of sin and controlled by various desires. 7 (Such women are forever following new teachings, but they are never able to understand the truth.) 8 These teachers oppose the truth just as Jannes and Jambres [unbelievers] opposed Moses. They have depraved minds and a counterfeit faith. 9 But they won’t get away with this for long. Someday everyone will recognize what fools they are, just as with Jannes and Jambres. 10 But you, Timothy, certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance. 11 You know how much persecution and suffering I have endured. You know all about how I was persecuted in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra—but the Lord rescued me from all of it. 12 Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13 But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived (2 Timothy 3 New Living Translation).

Don’t allow yourself to be deceived by imposters like Harold Camping. Jesus actually warned His disciples about this!

As he [Jesus] sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?” 4 And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray (Matthew 24:3-5 English Standard Version).

Most of today’s deceivers are not going about saying that they are the returning Messiah. Rather, they are saying they are Christians, and all that one needs to do is say, “I believe Jesus is the Christ.” This common verbal profession is camouflage or subterfuge. The real test to determine who is a faithful servant of Jesus Christ is not revealed by words but by actions.

The Apostle John explained this validity test in his first general circular letter to the Churches:

And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked (1 John 2:3-6 ESV).

You will be able to eliminate 99.9% of the so-called “Christians” with apocalyptic prediction addiction syndrome if you ask yourself: do they remember to keep holy the 7th day of the week, the Sabbath. Secularly this day is called Saturday and the commandment to keep it holy is stated in the 4th of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:8 and Deuteronomy 5:12. As the New Covenant’s book of Hebrews points out:

There remains, therefore, Sabbath-keeping [Greek: sabbatismos] for the people of God (Hebrews 4:9 Coulter Translation).

When Christ returns as prophecy foretells, He will give “rest” and bring peace to a war torn world, but meanwhile, followers of Christ will be honouring Him weekly by keeping His Sabbath rest. God only grants spiritual discernment and knowledge of future events to those who are willing to obey HIm. So, I dare say, neither the cynical secular press, nor the religious false prophets like Harold Camping— all of whom refuse to obey God’s commandments—are going to be able to clearly understand Scriptural prophecy before the actual Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Picture this… the Second Coming of Osama Bin Laden

In a CBS News interview yesterday, U.S. President Barak Obama rejected releasing grisly death pictures of the al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden, saying,

“We don’t trot this stuff out as trophies… The fact of the matter is, this was somebody who was deserving of the justice that he received, and I think Americans and people around the world are glad that he is gone. But we don’t need to spike the football” (referring to the iconic athletic enthusiasm exhibited by American footballers when they score touchdown points).

Yes, Bin Laden was indeed worthy of the death penalty as he led the terrorist organization responsible for the massacre of many thousands of innocent people. As the Judeo-Christian scriptures explicitly teach in the Law:

However, if someone deliberately kills another person, then the slayer must be dragged even from my altar and be put to death (Exodus 21:13 New Living Translation).

A few bullets to the head administered by a Navy SEAL, however, is just the beginning of the justice process for Osama Bin Laden.

In this, President Barak Obama, a self-professing Christian, seems to be ignorant. While acknowledging in the CBS interview that some people will indeed deny the certainty of Bin Laden’s execution without the release of convincing pictures, Obama asserted:

There is no doubt that Osama Bin Laden is dead. Certainly there is no doubt among al-Qaida members that he is dead…There are going to be some folks who deny it. The fact of the matter is, you will not see Bin Laden walking on the Earth again (Sheldon Alberts, Postmedia News, May 5, 2011).

Well, the real fact of the matter is, and this will be news to President Obama and perhaps many readers, Osama Bin Laden will yet again walk on the Earth! Yes, you read that correctly. There will be a “Second Coming” of this killer. And I’m not just talking metaphorically as when some other murderous Muslim fanatic commits similar crimes under the inspiration of Osama Bin Laden’s example.

How can I make such an assertion? Well, the fact of the matter is, as explained in multiple places in the Holy Scriptures, such a “Second Coming” is precisely what is going to happen to Osama Bin Laden. Notice this biblical prophecy foretelling what shall take place in the End Time:

“At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people [He is one of God’s archangels]. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt (Daniel 12:1-2 English Standard Version).

Even the New Covenant’s Apostle Paul asserted that bad men like Bin Laden will come to life again and walk on the Earth:

…there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust (Acts 25:15 ESV).

Why would God bother to bring back the bad guys? Well, God has a plan for every mortal human being including you, and me:

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27 King James Version).

Jesus Christ himself, the Son of God, taught there is indeed coming a time of reckoning for all who have ever lived, including wicked men like Osama Bin Laden and all his al-Qaida crew of cutthroats:

Do not be surprised and wonder at this, for the time is coming when all those who are in the tombs shall hear His voice, and they shall come out–those who have practiced doing good [will come out] to the resurrection of [new] life, and those who have done evil will be raised for judgment [raised to meet their sentence] (John 5:28-29 Amplified Version).

The fact of the matter is, the real judgment day is still to come when Bin Laden will stand in the docket to fully answer for his behaviour. I’m looking forward to having a courtroom seat to witness such an event. But in the meantime I’m making it my business to be among those whom God will call righteous rather than unrighteous. How about you?

What’s your life worth?

This morning on the one-year anniversary of the world’s worst oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, I was listing to a CBC Radio 1 interview with Kenneth Fineberg, who is also known as the “pay czar” for British Petroleum’s US$20 billion compensation fund for those hurt by that environmental disaster. Fineberg, a legal specialist in mediation and alternative dispute resolution, was previously the Special Master of the U.S. government’s September 11th Victim Compensation Fund a decade ago and wrote a book about his experience called “What is Life Worth?: The Unprecedented Effort to Compensate the Victims of 9/11.”

So, how does Mr. Fineberg place a value on a human life? Well, it’s all fairly cut and dried being mostly numbers and statistics: A) Determine how much the person was making at the time of his or her death B) Estimate how many more years could that person reasonably have been expected to continue earning such money. C) Multiply A x B + something for “pain and suffering,” and voilà, you get a sum printed off on a compensation cheque.

Of course, the party or parties who suffered the loss of their loved one can always sue and try to make the case for a higher figure. But you’re going to have to convince the judge and the jury, dollar-wise. For most people, the high legal costs for such a run through the “justice” system makes accepting the pay czar’s formula fixing the life-value of their loved one the only rational choice—even if the final figure seems low and cold.

So, have you ever stopped to figure out what YOUR life is worth? Or, maybe even, what is all human life on this entire planet worth? To most people the logical answer would have to be: “utterly priceless” or “more than the total sum of all the money and things of value in the world.” I mean, how else could you figure such enormous present and potential value?

Actually, someone once working in a capacity like a “pay czar” did put a value on all humanity’s redemptive value in monetary terms. The amount was equal to what it would cost to hire the average, full-time workingman for 120 days. In 2007 U.S. dollars this would be $22,560 in Canada or about $31,680 in the United States or $26,688 in Germany or only $16,992 in the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus. That was the value of 30 pieces of silver in A.D. 30.

When morning came, all the chief priests and elders of the people plotted against Jesus to put Him to death. 2 And when they had bound Him, they led Him away and delivered Him to Pontius Pilate the governor. 3 Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.”
And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it!”
5 Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself.
6 But the chief priests took the silver pieces and said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, because they are the price of blood.” 7 And they consulted together and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. 8 Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day.
9 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced, 10 and gave them for the potter’s field, as the LORD directed me” (Matthew 27:1-10 New King James Version).

The value of Jesus’ life to his Father was priceless. But for the lawyers and compensation specialists of 2,000 years ago, 30 pieces of silver was enough. So, what is YOUR life worth?

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

So don’t place a low value on your life. You are worth more than any lawyer or accountant could imagine. As the Apostle Peter said,

You were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot (1 Peter 1:19-19 NKJV).

If you would like to hear more about your worth to God and the value of human life check out my messages “Preparing for the Passover” and “Spirit of Service” posted on http://cogwebcast.com/

Looking out for Wisconsin’s and Nanaimo’s best interest

On Friday, April 1, 2011, the Wisconsin state governor Scott Walker signed into law an immensely controversial bill passed by that state’s legislature the previous evening despite death threats, intimidation, and large demonstrations by organized labour supporters. The new law effectively puts this Midwestern state’s public-sector unions on a diet of low-fat cheese at a time when many American states and municipalities are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. The consequences of such defaults on state and municipal financial obligations would be profound.

The Wisconsin Republican governor, arguing that he was elected in order to make the tough decisions needed by the times, successfully pushed this change in the law. Walker consistently said that both the state and its local governments needed it in order for them to balance their budgets. Without it, large numbers of public employees would have to be laid off, and/or taxes would be increased.

The new Wisconsin law effectively reduces the power of some public-sector labour unions. It limits future public employee pay raises to the inflation rate, requires public-sector unions to hold annual certification votes, and no longer allows those unions to collect their union dues directly from their member’s pay cheques. The revised law also requires public employees to make greater contributions to their pension and medical plans.

For decades now, public-sector labour unions have been the fastest growing part of the organized labour movement in North America. These unions have secured for their members high wages and pension benefits that are often far more generous than those accessible to the average joe in the private sector.

When the North American economy was significantly growing in girth by leaps and bounds such generosity to its public employees seemed affordable. But since the economic shock of 2008 and the accompanying severe decline in tax receipts, it has become inevitable that an obese public sector would have to start dieting for the long-term good of their communities.

While the Wisconsin legislators were bravely running the gauntlet of protesting, high-fat demanding, cheese-heads in their quest to skim the state’s milk, I was sitting in a non-descript Nanaimo high school meeting room listening to our local school district’s parent advisory council discuss the cuts that will have to be made in the district’s budget.

In Nanaimo, we don’t even have low-fat dairy creamer for DPAC representatives’ tea or coffee—just that phony white plastic-fat powder. Should we recommend that the school district charge parents for the privilege of allowing their kids to take the school buses? Maybe we should advocate charging teachers for their parking spaces in the school lots? Cuts to programs? Close schools? Two weeks for spring vacation instead of one? Even if we suggested selecting all of the above that still wouldn’t find us the necessary 3 to 4 million dollars in cuts our school district will need to make in 2011-2012 to balance our schools’ budget.

The problem is that of our $120 million annual school budget 93% is wages—most of which is negotiated by the Province of British Columbia with its educational public-sector unions and is untouchable. That leaves roughly 7% or $8.4 million to fund the district’s educational programs and to buy stuff like texts books for all students.

I pointed out at our DPAC meeting that, if our priority goal was really to educate young people, then budget cuts should come from the 93% of the budget going to public-sector employees rather than from the 7% needed to provide students with quality programming. Yet, most likely, the $3-4 million in cuts will come from this remaining 7% of the budget used for our students because this cut will cause the least amount of controversy among the arguing interested groups. But this means a devastating potential reduction of 35 to 47% in our ability, in dollar terms, to create effective and relevant educational programs for our young people!

But I’m sure when the open public meetings start on this problem next week in Nanaimo that we will have as many hard feelings and heated arguments expressed as have the people in Wisconsin.

It would seem that in our contemporary wrangling over public budget shortfalls that we could all use a reminder from the Apostle Paul about how we should approach working out what’s really in the best interest for our communities as a whole:

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:3-5 New American Standard Bible).