Saturday, March 31, 2007

Left Behind

Strange title for a post on the blog of a preterist-sympathizer, but "the end times" has been on my mind lately, particularly the 'rapture', the Bible's missing word. It's come to my thoughts because a certain person I know was trying to convince another certain person I know on Christianity, and they hit a wall on this rapture theology. It reminded me of my disbelief.

Particularly bothersome to me is the depiction of the event in the likes of "Left Behind", where the non-believers run around silly looking for loved ones and all they can seem to find are piles of clothes, or of the chaos that erupts when Christians in vital physical positions (such as flying a plane) are suddenly evacuated. Planes fall to the earth killing hundreds, cars crash, etc. It boggles my mind that this display of theology is acceptable... yet it is. The loaded authors have now sold more than 63 million copies of books from their endless end-time saga. Enough about that.

A doctrine not taught by the fathers of our faith, the great escape wasn't popularized until the 1830s, and now more so than ever. I don't want to get in to all the reasons not to believe in "the rapture" or at least a pre-suffering one; all I want to say is that, whether it's right or wrong, is it more responsible to promote a faith that's dependent on a sudden escape, or one that is dependent on a faith in Christ that guides through suffering? Because it is uncertain whether this rapture will happen, or when it will happen, isn't it wisdom to prepare for it not happening? That's my take.

You can't just hold up one theory and ignore other passages referring to the same event or time period, namely the prophecy of Jesus: "Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved." (Mt 24:9-14)

How are both the highly-speculative rapture and the prophecy of Jesus true? Shouldn't the leaders of the church build up their followers in their faith so that as few as possible defect, rather than preach the hell out of the rapture, and MOST defect as soon as the smallest amount of persecution falls in their lap? Strangely enough, this prophecy seems to fit in very well with this rapture promotion of the "end times" (hey, I'm allowed to speculate too!).

After all, what makes the Christians of 2007 different than those of 70 AD? Than the Christians who were used as light torches along the road into Rome [lips sewn shut so they didn’t scream as they were burnt alive and disturb those walking the road]? Than those used as lion food? Than those in Iran right now? The rapture comes out of western thought - western privileged thought. We're rights-focused, and I think we may have created a doctrine that demands our rights, whether or not they will be given to us.

I was irked by the insistence on this theology, especially as it created a stumbling block for another person - I'm sure one of millions out there. Anyway, I'm not trying to make any bold statements... just to provoke thought.

Any ideas?

Did I really just say I'm not trying to make any bold statements?! Ha!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

On Living With Other Humans...

So recently I forsook the much-enjoyed life of a solitary habitat to join 4 other humans in a house closer to work. Now I'm not one to dramatize little blips here and there, but... but nothing, I have nothing to complain about. For the most part, I live like I'm on my own, except for the traces of co-habitation left behind by the others in this house. Things like the bathroom - access hasn't been a problem, but cleanliness might be a bit of one (we have a shedder in the house!). But other than that, nothing is wrong. It's different, not bad.

Although, I must admit I miss having my very own space. Everything was where I put it and wanted it (it was MY mess), and if the shower was dirty, it was my dirt, and if I left dishes out for a few days, I only had to answer to myself (which can still be harsh!). Also, the fact that I didn't have to spend all my time in my bedroom was nice. Then there's the fact that I can't really sing at the top of my lungs anymore; I actually miss that. Such moments are now reserved for the car at night :)

This is good though; I should learn to live well with others, to tolerate others. And I am!

All part of [slowly] growing up.

Monday, March 19, 2007

4 Years in Iraq, But Who's Counting?

We're counting...

Iraqi Deaths:
4,900 - 6,375
Civilians: 58,908 - 64,729

Coalition Deaths:
USA: 3,218
UK: 134
Other: 124*

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Movie of the Month...

Great film! Starring the brilliant James McAvoy (Last King of Scotland, The Lion The Witch & The Wardrobe), this one had me laughing most of the way through. Clever and witty, engaging and real. Don't want to say much more at the moment, as this isn't one of my infamous movie reviews ;-)

Haven't heard anything about it? Check the site:


Feeling very bad about my grandparents, I took a day off work last week to go visit with my dad and sister. Though sad, I was very much assured that the staff at this facility knew what they were doing, and that they actually did it with care. It’s a private care centre run by a Christian organization, which shouldn’t make you assume it’s good care, but from what I saw, it is. They make sure my grandparents eat their meals together, and see each other as often as possible.

I really love old people; I met Kassi, who spelled her name for me several times, but when I asked her what her last name was, she couldn’t remember. It was very sweet. I also helped this lady in a wheelchair who was coming inside off the deck because it was chilly outside; she couldn’t get in the door on her own, and no one was around to help, so I pushed* her in and sent her on her way.

My grandma didn’t want us to leave and thanked us profusely for coming and helping her. She cried again as we left, and I think we all did as well. *sigh* so sad. Here we are:

* wheelchair, there was a wheelchair; kinda sounds bad "I pushed her in"

Saturday, March 17, 2007


This one is blue...

This one is pink...

This one ... well, it's wild!

This has got to say something about these birds' Creator, so I've made it a meditation. I'm always mesmerized by these wildly creative animals. And I'm a nerd :)

Sunday, March 11, 2007


You hem me in - behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.

Psalm 139 : 5

Something is Wrong...

I'm upset today, and it's not due to the fact that it has poured rain for more than 24 hours (it is pouring out there!). A number of things can factor into my upset-equation, but I'm mostly upset over my grandparents. They're in an assisted living home in Gibsons (a short ferry ride away), as they are now 90+ years old. They've done well though. They've stuck together, in the same room, for the past year or two, and for the same life for over 60 years. Until now: They've been separated. My grandmother's health has deteriorated to the point where she needs more constant care, so this weekend, they moved her to her own room on the other end of the complex, in the "more attentive care" section. My grandpa will remain where he is.

Now, this could've been much worse. If my grandma was unable to get in to this room, Plan B could've been a facility out of town, which would've been 10x worse.

The last time I saw my grandparents was last autumn. As we left, my grandma walked us out, and cried as she gave us hugs, and cried as we pulled away, waving her hankerchief in the air. She's conscious of her fragility, and wants nothing more than to go home; she prays for it. It broke my heart; the thought of being in a place where you are just breaking down and waiting for your moment is beyond comprehension to me at this stage.

This whole situation is breaking my heart again. My grandma worries so much about my grandpa, and now he won't be around. She's going to have some major problems with that; we all just know it.

What have we become? Is this really how we treat our old people, our parents, and grandparents? It's repulsive! It makes me hate the system we've created. This is not how it's meant to be. For ages past, elders were honoured, and more so as they aged. Families lived together, and the seniors lived with their families until they passed on. Or if they weren't living together already, they were taken in, and cared for.

The industrialization and wealth of our society has made us machines, and economic factors (liabilities); evolution has made us dead cold.

Back when families lived together, and everyone fit in to their roles, and there were relationships happening, and people believed in a god or an afterlife, things must've been better. Now we are just numbers, throwing money at problems and hiring others to do the dirty work of caring for our loved ones. As if preparing to die wasn't abhorrent enough, we have to now do it with perfect strangers. I don't want that for myself, do you?

Seeing a bunch of very old people, white and wrinkled, sitting around in diapers and giant bibs, babbling nonsense is incredibly sad to me. We start and finish our lives the same way.

I'm just a mess of thoughts and sadness today. It all makes me think of Malachi 4:5

See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.
I think it makes sense in the context of how we have come to treat our elders (our "fathers"). So I guess there's a glimmer of hope ... or maybe a threat of a glimmer.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Reformation: Cont'd

So Peter brought up a good point (see comments on Reformation post); however, my approach to the subject was not meant to imply which of the Protestants or Catholics were right, but to highlight the fact that they both thought they were right. Let me explain...

It's human nature to think that what you believe is right. It's also human nature to tend towards separation upon hardship rather than maintaining union. When the church was split (for a second time, after the great East/West Schism was formed), the Protestants called it a Reformation, which by its implications, is a slam to the Catholic institution. The maturity level seems to be very low, and it continues today. Whether you're Mennonite, Catholic, Lutheran, United, Methodist, Pentecostal, Non-denominational, Eastern Orthodox, and to expand our horizons, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Scientologist, or whatever... you think you're right. In itself, there's nothing wrong. But then creating labels to enforce your superiority is a bit childish (I think).

On the backburner in my mind, while thinking about the mislabeled Reformation, I'm thinking of the ideal outcome of that era. What do you think? I think ideally, we'd be one church. When it's all said and done, will Catholics go to one side of heaven, Eastern Orthodox the other side, and pockets of Protestants everywhere in between? I think not. Truth will be known, and until then, everyone seems bent on dividing over what they believe that to be. Did you know the Protestants have divided themselves into more than 30,000 different denominations? 30,000!

How difficult to bite the bullet, to swallow your pride, but isn't that what life is for those led by the Spirit rather than the "survival of the fittest" beast?

Anyway, I rant I rave... nothing will ever change!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

"Reformation": a Positive Spin

For those of you familiar with Church history, the Reformation refers to a period of instability and power-challenging in the 16th century led by the likes of Martin Luther, John Calvin, and John Knox. The result of this challenge to the Roman Catholic establishment, the Protestant church(es).

Maybe I’m not seeing something here, but why do we call this the “reformation”? This has puzzled me for several years; that, by the very definition of the word, it really seems to be a mislabeling of a very important era in church history. In fact, it’s more of a church split than an internal improvement or correction.

If the church had remained united as one, under the Roman head, then yes, we can properly call it a reformation, but a reformation is not a creation of something separate and different. Does anyone agree?

In fact, the Catholic church followed this shake-up with their very own [now also mislabeled] reformation: the Counter-Reformation. This did away with the practices that rightly troubled the “reformers” like Luther and Calvin. Things like countering corrupt bishops and priests, banning the selling of indulgences, creating barriers to other financial abuses, as well as returning to a more foundational spirituality were all on the table at the Council of Trent (pictured right).

The Counter-Reformation, in my opinion, should truly be called the Reformation since, by its definition (the act of reforming; state of being reformed; improvement, betterment, correction, reform), implies an internal change and not the creation of another entity that is different.

Old Label / New Label
Reformation / Church-Split
Counter-Reformation / Reformation

Screw the Positive Spin - Yay? Nay?