Wednesday, December 31, 2008

"Afghan discourse" in Thorncliffe

Interesting article in the Globe & Mail about challenges facing afghan youth in Thorncliffe:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20081230.AFGHANYOUTH30/TPStory/National
As an Afghan-born youth living in Toronto, Nadera Ahmadi leads a hectic life. The 22-year-old attends York University full time, works part time in a big grocery store, and lives with her parents and family members in a small apartment in Thorncliffe Park.

But on a recent evening, she still took time to join about 30 young people in the basement of a local community centre to hash out a touchy subject: Should young people correct their parents on cultural issues?

The debate, moderated by a new grassroots forum known as the Afghan Discourse, touched on typical intergenerational conflicts. But for Afghans struggling to find work and adapt here, sometimes tensions erupt between tradition-minded parents and children lured to the wrong crowd.

Monday, December 22, 2008

10 bears in the bed and the little one said...

10 people in this Thorncliffe apartment!

http://www.torontosun.com/news/torontoandgta/2008/12/22/7823976-sun.html
Habitat for Humanity also provided new lodging next door for the Rabbani family, all 10 of them. The Pakistani family also got to tour their home yesterday, a welcome relief from the three-bedroom Thorncliffe apartment they've been crammed into for years.

"We're so happy to have this home now," said Mirza Sajid Rabbani, the father of eight. "God has made this easy." Rabbani has been driving a taxi to make ends meet since arriving from Pakistan in 1996. He and his son, Ukkashah, 16, laugh when they are asked if they will miss their tiny apartment.

"There are three boys in my room," Ukkashah said. "We won't miss how overcrowded it is, no."

Monday, December 15, 2008

Video of the week - Christmas baskets!

Here's a quick video of us unloading all the food for the Christmas baskets! Thanks to everyone who has donated so far to help us get all this stuff! Please pray as we give out the baskets over the next week:

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Citizenship ceremony in Thorncliffe

When I saw the article and video about Thursday's Thorncliffe Park citizenship ceremony I immediately recognized one of the boys from Lukas' class!

http://www.thestar.com/article/548846
Raza, a telecom worker, moved from Pakistan three years ago in search of a less volatile environment for his two sons.

Yesterday, he and dozens of others took the oath of citizenship in a ceremony at Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute in Thorncliffe Park. Family and friends proudly beamed from rows of benches, many waving miniature Canadian flags.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Health update - volume 2

Last Friday I visited the specialist to get the results of my CT scan.
The diagnosis was Crohns disease: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crohn%27s_disease, which is sort of what we expected. This is a bowel disorder that is chronic and causes varying degrees of functionality due to unexpected 'flare ups' and discomfort possibly for the rest of my life.

One option is surgery to remove the affected part of my small intestine (about 15 inches). The other option is to wait it out, as the doctor said "You could go on living normally for 5 years before another flare up". I will be meeting with a surgeon in the near future to discuss options. We have really valued the input of others who have similar conditions. The doctor also said that I am pretty much back to full strength and am not scheduled to see him again for 6 months.

So we're really thankful for all your prayers and support during this time! I've never been in a situation where there's uncertainty about my health and all of you have made us feel well cared for over the past few months. Not sure what the future holds but it is difficult at times to slow down and face hard realities when we're so excited about what God is doing.

This is the contradiction of life I guess. Strong when we are weak. As Rich Mullins put it:
We are frail, we are fearfully and wonderfully made
Forged in the fires of human passion
Choking on the fumes of selfish rage
With these our hells and our heavens so few inches apart
We must be awfully small and not as strong as we think we are


Thanks again for your prayers,
Shawn

Monday, November 24, 2008

The sayings of Sylas v19

The other day we were talking about Lukas' latest loose tooth:

Shawn: Sylas, do you believe in the tooth fairy?
Sylas: No way, we keep all our teeth in a jar
Shawn: What about Santa Claus?
Sylas: ...he doesn't believe in the tooth fairy either!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The day evangelicalism died

Isaiah 1:5: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.

Today marks the death of Western evangelicalism.

It's 2 years to the day since Ted Haggards fall from grace and only now he feels safe to open up about his deepest wounds

Am I condemning him? No
Am I condemning Christianity? No
I am condemning the evangelical smiley-face system that shuns true openness about sin and problems and pushes things into closets.
I am condemning the church-on-sunday suits-and-pews, pretending we have it all together that keeps people from truly sharing their struggles.

I am heart broken that it has taken Haggard this long to finally speak out about being taken advantage of sexually as a child. In all his years in churches, conferences, seminars was he unable to find anyone to confess to??? Was no one able to help him? In all the glory of the evangelical system did it ever come up? Did anyone pray for healing in this area of his life?

He was the head of the NAE!! There was no one higher in evangelicalism! But still the system would not allow him to open up about his deepest secrets. Think about it. Would you actually feel comfortable opening up about your deepest darkest secrets to those in your church? Could you see yourself requesting prayer for deep wounds you suffered as a child? Or does the evangelical system tend to sweep those issues further and further under the rug each and every Sunday?

Folks, what is the point of this whole charade if our churches are not places where we feel safe opening up and finding forgiveness?

RIP Western Evangelicalism - Rest in Pieces

Monday, November 03, 2008

New stats on Thorncliffe from 2006 census

Every time Canada does a census the data is released slowly, by category. Recently released statistics confirm some amazing trends in Thorncliffe:

1. Even though Thorncliffe has the largest elementary school - the largest demographic is not even in school yet!! 0-4 year olds!!!

Here -> http://www.toronto.ca/demographics/cns_profiles/2006/pdf1/cpa55.pdf


2. Despite already having the largest South Asian community in Canada, the South Asian population has actually doubled since the 2001 census!!

Here -> http://www.toronto.ca/demographics/cns_profiles/2006/pdf2/cpa55.pdf

Go Thorncliffe!!!

Here is the link to the City of Toronto neighbourhood profile:
http://www.toronto.ca/demographics/cns_profiles/cns55.htm

Monday, October 27, 2008

Health update - volume 1

Good morning everyone. I know I've stated before that this blog will be winding down so it may seem strange to start a new feature! But I figured this is the best way to keep many of you updated on some health concerns I've had recently. We've really appreciated all the prayers, cards, baskets etc. that have flowed in from so many of you. It makes me feel cared for at a time of uncertainty so thank you very much. I haven't been very public about this illness because I'm a typical male and would just rather brush it off and move on, but I felt today was a good time to make a bit of an announcement.

So for those who don't know what I'm talking about - here goes!:

Back in August I was hospitalized for a week for what is called an "Upper GI" bleed. This means part of my intestine began bleeding unexpectedly, so much so that I lost significant amounts of blood. Since being released from the hospital I have undergone a number of tests trying to figure out what is wrong. Thankfully the bleeding has not returned, but it has taken longer than I'd like to recover from the hemoglobin blood loss. One possible diagnosis is Crohns disease and another requires surgery for removal of the Ileum.

So today I'm blogging because I go for a CT scan this afternoon and thought it was an appropriate time to mention this more publicly for prayer. Please pray as I go for the scan today and in the weeks ahead when results will be compiled and decisions will be made.

Thank you for standing with us and for so many who have already been helping Hayley while I'm out of commission. More updates in the near future!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The sayings of Sylas v18 - Child proof!

In the car the other day Sylas discovered child-proof lids:

Sylas:
Mom, I can't open the lid on this medicine
Hayley: Well Sylas that's because it's a child-proof lid
Sylas: ooh...how does the lid know that I'm a child??

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Birthday boys!!


Yesterday was Lukas & Sylas' birthday!!
Hard to believe I'm the father of a 7 & 5 year old!
Happy Birthday little guys!

Monday, September 29, 2008

The sayings of Sylas v17 - Cell phones

We were sitting around the lunch table and I was explaining to Lukas and Sylas about why kids can't have cell phones:

Me: Studies show that children under 16 who use a cell phone can get cancer in their brain
Lukas: What do you mean?
Me: Cell phones give off radiation and if a child is still growing that radiation can go into their brain and cause cancer
Sylas: And then you'd need to get a metal brain like Terry Fox!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday, September 12, 2008

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Question: What happens when the largest elementary school in North America gets 20 new portables?

Answer: Your student population grows from 1600 students to 1900. Oh and don't forget that's just Kindergarten to Grade 5

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorncliffe_Park

"Thorncliffe Park Public School is the largest elementary school in North America with a staggering 1900 students. In the summer of 2008 the soccer field and baseball diamond were paved over and 20 new portables were erected in their place prompting fears of further over-crowding."

Monday, August 25, 2008

Announcing official charity number 843182197RR0001 !!!

That's right folks - 614 church is now an official registered charity with number 843182197RR0001

This is good news because we can now save some trees and process donations online!! Before we were only able to deal with cheques in the mail but now just click on the links below for one-time, monthly or automatic withdrawl:

Donate Now Through CanadaHelps.org!

Direct link: http://www.canadahelps.org/CharityProfilePage.aspx?CharityID=s96592

There's alot of work and responsibility that comes along with being a charity and we thank God for the way this country is set up to benefit those who give. Thanks to all who continue to donate to keep us going - we couldn't do it without you!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hamas Leader's son converts to Christianity

Very interesting article:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,402483,00.html
Mosab Hassan Yousef is an extraordinary young man with an extraordinary story. He was born the son of one of the most influential leaders of the militant Hamas organization in the West Bank and grew up in a strict Islamic family.

Now, at 30 years old, he attends an evangelical Christian church, Barabbas Road in San Diego, Calif. He renounced his Muslim faith, left his family behind in Ramallah and is seeking asylum in the United States.

The story of how his life unfolded is truly amazing, whether you agree or disagree with his views. Below is a transcript on an exclusive FOX News interview with Hassan as he tells firsthand how a West Bank Muslim became a West Coast Christian
Click here for the full article:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,402483,00.html

Monday, August 11, 2008

Closing out 4 years of blogging

Today is a special day in my life and I'd like to take the last hour of it to share a few thoughts that have been brewing for many months. Last night I watched the mens swimming 4x100 relay and the excitement of the Olympics moved me to blogging. Now it might take a few posts to really lay out what I want to say but I wanted to make sure I at least started today. There is significance in todays date and therefore I make the following announcement.

This blog was started exactly 4 years ago during the 2004 Athens Summer Olympic games. In August 2004, we trekked across Europe with a group of friends to the summer Olympics to give out as many Bibles as we could to as many people as we could. That was an amazing trip and it's with fond memories I write this. We started this blog to update the many people donated money for the project and were praying that God would take those Bibles and impact peoples lives.

I'm very thankful for many of you who have trekked with us since then. Many of you continue to donate for our personal support and check in here to see how we're doing. The comments and prayers for us continued through the different stages of our life and ministry. You are the reason this blog exists. We made it to update you on what God was doing in our lives.

Now I feel the time has come to pay a little tribute to this blog before it ultimately fades into the past. The era of blogging I feel is coming to an end. The reality is blogs are a thing of the past. In 2008 information is shared quicker than it was back in 2004 when there was yet no YouTube or Facebook! In Cyber years this blog is a dinosaur! Factors in my own life have also changed dramatically since August of 04 and to continue a blog who's time had come just didn't seem right.

Don't worry though, I'm not going to shut this blog down completely. I'll let it die gracefully as I keep updating less frequently, but before I did let it die I just thought it was the right thing to do to mark this date and bid it farewell. It will still be here for a while, but slowly and surely it will fade into the past.

What will not fade into the past however are the many wonderful 'real-world' relationships that this blog has helped maintain. Our ability to update you on our lives will only improve with new technologies. We simply feel at this time that this blog is not the best way to keep in touch.

So, dear athensBLOG (and you the faithful readers) here's to you! It's been a great 4 years.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Thorncliffe - Toronto's goat consumption capital!

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20080802.INSATIABLE02/TPStory/TPEntertainment/Ontario/
Although thousands of people will devour curried goat rotis at the Caribana Parade later today, goat is not a big seller in Toronto, at least not outside meat counters catering to new Canadian palates, such as Iqbal Halal Foods in Thorncliffe Park (where at $7.99 a leg, it is one of the most expensive meats on offer) or Kabul Farm on Parliament Street, operated by an Afghan family who raise a flock of goats outside Milton.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

My new favorite song - When I ruled the world!!

I've had a hankerin for Coldplay ever since I heard their latest song Viva La Vida on our vacation:
I'm interested to hear your thoughts on what this song is about. One possible interpretation is that it's about George Bush and the USA, others say it's England or the Crusades or the Roman Empire. Any ideas?

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Video of the week - Slow motion monster!!!

As I mentioned in the facebook pictures of our Quebec trip - here - I dropped my digital camera down the stairs of the St. Joseph Oratory in Montreal. This rendered my camera pretty much useless and some of the pictures were lost.

Yesterday I managed to salvage a few of the goodies, including this never-before-seen-video of me as a slow motion monster:



10 bucks to anyone that can make out what I'm saying!!!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Oldie but goodie Thorncliffe article

I found this link - here - to a portion of the 2003 Globe & Mail article on Thorncliffe titled "Tales from the Towers":
Globe reporter JAN WONG immersed herself in a high-rise community in east central Toronto, a magnet for some of the most highly educated newcomers to Canada, so well known that in India, Pakistan and parts of the Middle East, people don't talk about moving to Toronto, they talk about moving to Thorncliffe Park...

In one tower, Gharzai Ranzooryar is dragging himself up after an overnight shift at Rabba Fine Foods. In Afghanistan, he was an ear, nose and throat specialist. In Toronto, he works two low-paying jobs to meet the monthly $1,300 rent for an apartment that houses three generations of his family...
Read more of this amazing article available online - here

Friday, July 25, 2008

World's Oldest Bible Now Online!!

Saw this pretty amazing article on Slashdot yesterday about the Worlds Oldest Bible (the Codex Sinaiticus) going online - click here for the site.

This is the oldest complete New Testament (Injil) and dates back to the 4th century AD. A great reference point for those who say that the Christian Bible has been 'changed' or 'corrupted' in translation. The fact that we have a copy of the Bible, now online, that is over 1600 years old shows the Bible is very reliable and can be trusted.

May all of us thoroughly read and act on the words contained in these ancient scriptures!!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Forgot one little thing

Well folks, I'm back after a week in Quebec City! We had a great time and left yesterday just before the Paul McCartney hit the fan.

I realized when I got home that I had forgotten to renew my shawncuthill.com domain!! Quite a shock, but things are back up and running here on the athensBLOG.
More once I unpack a bit more!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Monday, June 30, 2008

"More than 400 churches closed in downtown Toronto in the last half of the 20th century"

Salvation Army major Geoff Ryan wrote a great article recently for the Toronto Star about the problem of churches fleeing the inner-city:

TheStar.com | News | Exodus II a test for churches
More than 400 churches closed in downtown Toronto in the last half of the 20th century, Ryan said, resulting in a shift in identity for organized religion toward the source of its only growth: the suburban middle class...Organized religion also began to believe that caring for the poor was the government's job, and not a personal responsibility. "The church has largely abrogated its leadership role as a voice for the voiceless," he said.

The Salvation Army, he said, maintains a shelter downtown and continues to both feed and house the poor. But this work is widely regarded as a charitable service for others and remains largely disconnected from the daily lives of church members, Ryan said.

The challenge of the coming years, he said, will be to be the voice of the poor as the middle class moves back downtown.

Lego Bible update

In this update: God raises up Solomon's enemies

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Video of the week - Matt is dancing again!

Some of you may remember the outrageously popular video titled Where the Hell is Matt? Well Matt has just produced another video of him dancing around the world! Check it out:

Monday, June 23, 2008

Vision program kicks off at Thorncliffe school

Cool program kicked off this week at Thorncliffe Park Public School:

http://www.independentfreepress.com/community/article/51202
Rehana Zahid heard about the pilot project through her son’s school. “They sent us a note about whether we’d like to have Ahsan’s eyes checked, and to have new prescription glasses provided if he needed them,” she said. “We of course agreed.” Rehana’s family migrated from Sialkot in Pakistan some four years ago. She holds a Master’s degree while her husband is a computer sciences professional. Since they moved here their story has followed something of a classical Canadian copybook style: she doesn’t have a job, while her husband drives a cab. “We have a young family,” explains Rehana, a tad defensively.

But in what represents a departure from the norm and may well hold out promise for several sectors— our coming generation, newcomers with foreign medical training, as well as Ontario’s, and Canada’s, beleaguered health care services— the project has employed international medical graduates to check the vision and hearing of elementary schoolchildren deemed most at risk. Significantly, the three-year project with a funding in place for close to half a million dollars has the potential to directly help around 25,000 children, estimates Susan Wakutz of the Toronto District School Board. And, while it currently focuses on seven inner city pockets of Toronto, the initiative could well be rolled out across the GTA, officials say.

The officials add that thousands of inner city students will be able to see the blackboards and hear their teachers more clearly, thanks to the new hearing and vision screening program which was kicked off last week at Thorncliffe Park Elementary School.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Only the Injil v4 - Temple Tantrum!!

Recently I became a 30-something, which at first glance was quite depressing. There has been, however, one sweet consolation - I am now in my 'Jesus years'. These years in Jesus' life (between 30 and 33) were powerful, dynamic, miraculous and ultimately led to the greatest grass-roots revolution in human history.

Realizing this, I picked up my Reese Chronological Bible and each day, for the next 3 years, I will seek to read about exactly what Jesus was doing at my age!

____________________________________________________________________

This edition of 'Only the Injil' focuses on Jesus throwing a 'tantrum' in the temple at Jerusalem. Last time we focused on how he built momentum for his movement. This time we want to look a bit at the what he does when he's got the audience.

> Jesus @ 31 years & 2-4 months old - The stage is set as Jesus approaches Jerusalem. Everyone will be there. Everyone will remember him. This is his chance to make his first impression - what will he say? Will he make a loud speech about God's love, announcing to everyone that salvation is here! Or maybe everyone would simply recognize him from John's baptism so he won't even have to say a word, just let his lifestyle speak for him. What is the first major thing Jesus wants to personally communicate to the masses?

I wonder what you or I would say if we had that kind of chance. A captive religious audience. Pilgrims gathered from all over the country with their hearts set on worship. This must be the holiest time of the year, the very heart of the jewish religious experience. Surely Jesus will use this opportunity to preach a 'sermon on the mount' type message. Something memorable. Love your neighbour stuff? An exposition on worship? A parable maybe? Something that would glorify God?

What Jesus does as he enters Jerusalem is so important I'm going to go on a bit about it. I might even have to make 2 posts. In the past few months of his life Jesus has gone from a little village carpenter to provincial phenom after being baptised by John. Now he will go from being whispered about to being fully revealed country-wide as his revolution begins! What we see next is the true heart of Jesus. Mark my words. This is the heart of Jesus revealed. John 2:14 states that "he found those that sold". He found them. I think Jesus was on a bit of a witch-hunt here. But not for the money changers. They were just bait. A decoy. Jesus shows us what his revolution is going to be all about. I think he went to Jerusalem (since he knew everything) with the specific intent to cause a commotion and make a point. And it was not so much about the guys selling in the temple. And I think he did it with a purpose.

Too often we think of this story and give Jesus a mulligan. Oops, he got mad, must have been a divine mistake. Or "hey, it's Jesus he's allowed to get upset" not understanding the true intention of Jesus' heart. Yes he was ticked that people had turned the temple into a farmers market but that is not the point of this whole exercise. Think about it. He could have showed up any Tuesday there was worship and overthrown a few tables making a smaller scene. But I believe Jesus wanted to make a big scene. I believe he wanted to make the biggest scene possible. I believe he wanted to make a big statement about who he is and what he was all about and he's using the money changers simply as bait to pick a fight with the people he really wants to overturn. Overthrowing tables was simply a way to get everyone's attention and say to everyone what was on his heart.

As Jesus begins his temple tantrum the religious elites take the bait. I think this was his plan. I think he turned over the tables just to get their attention and get a reaction which he could respond to. Their reaction is (John 2:18):“What are you doing? If God gave you authority to do this, show us a miracle to prove it?" Translation: "Who the hell do you think you are screwing up our religious ceremony!?" Have you ever had this experience? Have you ever got a bit agitated when some bumbling outsider made a mess of your carefully organized religious ceremony/worship service/conference. The immediate response is usually "get lost, can't you see there's something important going on here". Jesus has made a mess of their biggest religious feast of the year! This is the holiest moment in their religious calendar! You can imagine the scene. Shattered tables, coins and livestock cover the ground. This is not appropriate! They are not happy about it! What will Jesus say to them as they ask for an answer? Pilgrims from all over the country are listening. Why did he do this?

Jesus takes the opportunity to lay down his manifesto for all to hear - "Destroy the temple" are the first words out of Jesus mouth (John 2:19) . Destroy the temple!!! Did he just say destroy the temple?? What a horrible blasphemous statement to God's chosen people, on the holiest day of their year! "Destroy the temple? It took us 46 years to build this temple! This temple is a pinnacle of all our religious efforts and pride. We love this temple. We would never destroy it. Instead we are going to destroy you for speaking against our holy religious symbol. We love our religion. We love our temple. Who do you think you are!

"My job description" Jesus is saying "is to destroy your religion so you can really know God." Destroy it. I'll rebuild it once it's gone, but it has to be gone. The things you love. The things you cherish the most. Lay down your temple and take up your cross. What does that mean for me and you? What do we need to destroy so we can hear God clearer? What do we need to dismantle so Jesus can 'rebuild' true faith inside us? Jesus says that his job is to destroy religious ceremonies/festivals/worship/temples in order for us to have nothing so he can rebuild us.

If this is difficult to accept think about it - this is what got him killed in the end. This very statement that he would destroy the temple. If he was just upset at selling in the temple the story would have ended there, all the jews would cheer because he had cleared away the riff raff and then Jesus would be made King of israel. But that is not his point at all! The money changers are secondary to the primary message of destroying religion.

I would suggest that the reason Jesus spends so much time with sinners & tax collectors is not becuase he felt sorry for them. It is because he knew that they understand God better than the holiest religious person. Are you with me here? The worst sinners have no religious baggage, no 'temple' that needs destroying. They can see clearer than the most righteous person who is blinded by his religious views. Jesus knew that the sinners & tax collectors hear God without filters. And so, before he embarked on a life of helping the poor, the needy, the prostitutes, he had to bust some serious religious chops!

I think what Jesus wanted to personally communicate to the masses in Jerusalem was that religion is blinding you - turn back to God. That is his message for you as well. Your religious meetings, bible studies, conferences etc etc have become a stumbling block to really hearing and understanding the message which he delivers next in the synagogue (Isaiah 61:1-3).

If you are a Christian think about that in your church life. Your years of church are actually keeping you from God. Your patterns of worship are actually keeping you from truly worshiping. Jesus is telling you to clean the money changers out of your life. Do a religious detox. Destroy and He will rebuild in three days. It took the jews 46 years to encase their religious traditions. Jesus says destroy it and very quickly, only 3 days, He will rebuild. What an amazing promise. Rebuild your religious thought patterns. Rebuild your habits. Rebuild your views.

If you are not a Christian, you have the greatest opportunity to experience God without religion! The revolution of Jesus would welcome you to it's protest against organized religion and full persuit of God! The Salvaiton Army is a good example of this. A few nutbars named William & Cahterine Booth built a revolution with teenagers, outcasts, rejects and peverts that truly demonstrated the heart of God. They were the 'hand to man' helping the poorest of the poor.

A few other interesting points:

1. This message is very attractive to people looking for a way out of religion and back to God
a) John 3 - Nicodemus approaches Jesus just after this
a) John 4: 45 - The Galileans believed because of this.

Obviously I haven't even scratched the surface with this topic. Obviously there will be alot of confusion. Feel free to leave comments and i will try to explain more of what I mean. This is just the first part of Jesus' manifesto. This one was in the temple. The next one is in the synagogue. Same result both times - religious people completely furious! Jesus & sinners - 2, Religious People - 0. Who's side are you on?

Up next - Temple Tantrum 2

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The sayings of Sylas v16 - Ontario Place love

The other night Sylas and I were snuggling in bed when he turned over, looked at me and said:

Sylas: Dad, I love you from China to Ontario place!

Monday, June 16, 2008

"My time in Myanmar"

Saw this on a friend's blog: My time in Myanmar
One exciting moment took place when a church leader called my hotel late at night and asked to meet me on urgent business. He arrived to take me away in his car (which was unexpected), under cover of dark, to an unknown area of the city, where a Bible school (the term is over), was "hiding" a whole village. Mostly Christian, these families had fled the flood plain with their pastor, and sought refuge in Yangon. The seminary had taken in in 480 people, including many orphans and widows, and was feeding and clothing them. They were hidden, because the Burmese can't relocate in their own country without permission, and all the cyclone victims would have been put into a camp or sent home. I could take no pictures or names there. The church leaders informed me this was happening all over the city, leading to another logistics problem: How do you aid victims that don't exist?
Click here for the full report

Friday, June 13, 2008

Shirley and Marcy

Today is Friday the 13th so I wanted to post this story my dad sent me to bless you with good luck for the whole day!
A mom was concerned about her kindergarten son walking to school. He didn't want his mother to walk with him.

She wanted to give him the feeling that he had some independence but yet know that he was safe. So she had an idea of how to handle it.

She asked a neighbor if she would please follow him to school in the mornings, staying at a distance, so he probably wouldn't notice her. She said that since she was up early with her toddler anyway, it would be a good way for them to get some exercise as well, so she agreed.

The next school day, the neighbor and her little girl set out following behind Timmy as he walked to school with another neighbor girl he knew. She did this for the whole week.

As the two walked and chatted, kicking stones and twigs, Timmy's little friend noticed the same lady was following them as she seemed to do every day all week. Finally she said to Timmy, 'Have you noticed that lady following us to school all week? Do you know her?'

Timmy nonchalantly replied, 'Yeah, I know who she is.'

The little girl said, 'Well, who is she?'

'That's just Shirley Goodnest,' Timmy replied, 'and her daughter Marcy.'

'Shirley Goodnest? Who the heck is she and why is she following us? '

'Well,' Timmy explained, 'every night my Mom makes me say the 23rd Psalm with my prayers, 'cuz she worries about me so much. And in the Psalm, it says, 'Shirley Goodnest and Marcy shall follow me all the days of my life', so I guess I'll just have to get used to it!'

May Shirley Goodnest and Marcy be with you today and always!!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Monday's hot topics - How to be like the New Testament/Early church

On the discussion forum - here, Rey has some interesting observations about how to become like the 'New Testament/early church'
How did the early church look like?

First, change locale: get into a house or meet at a river or maybe in the back of the local synagogue until you get kicked out and then go back inot a house or meet at a river.

Second, throw away your Bibles: if you're gentile try to get your hand on a copier to duplicate the Greek version of the Jewish Bible but if you can't afford that buy a scroll at a time and spend your time reading it slowly to memorize it so you can keep the scroll at home/church. With your New Testament rip out all the letters and save maybe one that is nearby your locality. That one, rip out a couple of chapters unless you want to be one of the lucky ones. Definitely rip out 2nd Peter and the Book of Hebrews. If you want to go later down into the 2nd Century then I'll allow you to add maybe the Gospel of Barnabas, the Gospel of Hebrews and you decide if you want 2 Peter, James, Revelation or Hebrews.

Third: elevate Oral tradition
too and memorize the gospel in a catchy rhyme.

Christ died
For our sins
According to Scripture
He was buried
And He was raised on the third day
According to Scripture

Fourth: Get together with all our doctrinal disagreements, get together. Charismatics and Cessationists in the same room, Dispensationalists and Amillenialists, Calvinsts and (gasp!) Arminians, Dogs and Cats--total anarchy (man I love Ghostbusters).

Fifth: do a whole bunch of stuff that none of us have recorded
.
Post your thoughts in the comments below, or the discussion forum - here, about what you think of Rey's technique for getting back to New Testament Christianity

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Parenting 101 v17 - The end of the road

When I am confronted with a difficult parenting situation, I'll put the issue out there to plumb the depths of the vast parenting knowledge of my beloved readers....Here is our seventeenth edition of Parenting 101.
__________________________

The other day we were driving in the car when Sylas asked a skill testing question:

Sylas: Dad?
Dad: Yes Sylas
Sylas: Where does the road end?

Can anyone think of a good answer?

Saturday, May 31, 2008

CTV.ca | Many Canadians don't believe in a god: poll

I found this article interesting, especially since it affirms over 70% do believe in a god. Most interesting quote:
A study quoted by Statistics Canada in 2006, found "adult Canadians attach a higher degree of importance to religion than religious attendance figures alone would indicate.''
Translation: Church sucks. If we actually acted like this stuff was important, instead of simply carrying on religious traditions handed down by our forefathers, many more people would probably be attracted to the message of Jesus.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Biker killer finds God

http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Crime/2008/05/27/5678831-sun.html
A Bandido biker who killed a member of the Hells Angels found God after the shooting and is hoping to only do a year or two in jail.

"I started reading the Bible daily and asked the Lord to come into my life. I have read the Bible from start to finish," Francesco "Cisco" Lenti told Justice Michael Brown in Newmarket court yesterday at his sentencing hearing.

The 62-year-old pleaded guilty to manslaughter for the shooting of Hells Angels sergeant-at-arms David (White Dread) Buchanan

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The sayings of Olivia volume 1 - Narnia!

It was inevitable. First Lukas started his 'sayings', then Sylas, and now the athensBLOG is proud to launch the very first "Sayings of Olivia"!

The other day we took all the kids and Cookie to see Prince Caspian. At the triumphant scene where Lucy finally sees Aslan Oliva gasped in anticipation:

Olivia: Look mommy
Mommy: Yes, it's Aslan
Olivia: No...it's a Lion that can talk! Wow.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Why are all Toronto ghetto's called "Park"?

There is an interesting phenomenon here in Toronto where all the lowest income and run-down neighbourhoods have the word "park" in them. Thorncliffe Park, Flemingdon Park, Regent Park, Moss Park etc. Recently I found this interesting article - here - that gave some explanation and documented the history of Toronto's high rise glory:
I am intrigued by the history of Toronto's development and growth. Toronto is indeed a city of towers, sometimes in the most unexpected locales...Some 50 years ago, Canada's first planned community was built. The Don Mills development...

The 60's saw a boom in tower construction. In the 'burbs, the typical land requirements allowing for up to 60% of the property to be green - essentially parkland. The result was tower developments "in parks" suited for the middle class. Developments such as Flemingdon Park, Thorncliffe Park, Bathurst and Steeles, northern Keele and Jane St, the Peanut and Crescent Town went up at a dizzying pace...Developments such as Flemingdon Park, Thorncliffe Park, Bathurst and Steeles, northern Keele and Jane St, the Peanut and Crescent Town went up at a dizzying pace.
So there you have it, way back in the 60's Toronto was already thinking 'green'. Three cheers for ghetto's named "Park"!

Friday, May 16, 2008

My new favorite song - Do you know what you're getting yourself into?

This song came up as my MP3s were shuffling and as I listened I thought I'd blog it with a few comments. I really believe most Christians do barely anything for God because of fear. They are afraid to really let go and abandon themselves to God. Think about it. That's what kept the Israelites from taking the land, when Joshua & Caleb said God could do it. That's what kept the army paralyzed, when David stepped up to kill Goliath. That's what has probably kept you where you are right now instead of following your dreams and stepping out in faith and trusting God.

Fear - 2 Tim 1:7 - God has not given us a spirit of fear!
Trust God! Stop being scared! Make up your mind! Get into the battle! Step out on faith! It's not easy. It's worth it.

Video of the week - Dave the friendly Goth

Pastor Smith shows us how to behave when a strange person shows up at church. While the content is provocative Pastor Smith is warm and loving in the way he engages Dave, the friendly Goth:

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Amazing historical piece on Thorncliffe


This article from ERA architects and the "Tower renewal project" documents some of the original designs and pictures from Thorncliffe Park.
Thorncliffe Park was a bold 1950s plan by the Town of Leaside to redevelop a former racetrack overlooking the Don River. Conceived in 1955 it was proposed to be the first apartment neighbourhood in Canada...The apartment towers themselves were the peak of modernity, for the first time offering panoramic views of the city, underground parking, indoor pools and other amenities unthinkable before the War. In something of a ‘Jetsons’ aesthetic, Thorncliffe’s modern towers were a symbol of a prosperous and confident nation after the war...

...Today the area one of the City’s most prominent immigrant reception zones. It is home to Canada’s largest Islamic community and is one of North America’s most diverse neighbourhoods, with a vibrancy and street life usually found in the central city
Check out the full article here

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Early church quotes - volume 2

Fellow blogger Lon posted a great early church quote - here:
It is the Christians, O Emperor, who have sought and found the truth, for they acknowledge God. They do not keep for themselves the goods entrusted to them. They do not covet what belongs to others. They show love to their neighbors. They do not do another what they would not wish to have done to themselves. They speak gently to those who oppress them, and in this way they make them their friends.

It has become their passion to do good to their enemies. They live in the awareness of their smallness. Every one of them who has anything gives ungrudgingly to the one who has nothing. If they see a traveling stranger, they bring him under their roof. They rejoice over him as over a real brother, for they do not call one another brothers after the flesh, but they know they are brothers in the Spirit and in God.

If they hear that one of them is imprisoned or oppressed for the sake of Christ, they take care of all his needs. If possible they set him free. If anyone among them is poor or comes into want while htey themselves have nothing to spare, they fast two or three days for him. In this way they can supply any poor man with the food he needs. This, O Emperor, is the rule of life of the Christians, and this is their manner of life.

- Aristides 137 AD.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

How to get aid to Myanmar



While many aid organizations are attempting unsuccessfully to get into Myanmar to deliver relief, the Salvation Army is already working hard in this ravaged country! A recent press release - here - details the relief effort and how Canadians can help:



The Salvation Army in Myanmar continues to respond to the devastation caused by Cyclone Nargis...Any public donations received by The Salvation Army that are specified to the Myanmar Cyclone Relief Fund will also be directly allocated to the relief effort in addition to this initial $50,000...The Salvation Army’s efforts continue in Myanmar as cooked meals and water are provided to the public. At two specific Army locations, clean well water is being pumped for those in need.

**The Salvation Army began its work in Myanmar (then Burma) in 1915 and now includes over 40 ministry units, children’s homes shared farms, pig loan programs, 60 well projects to deliver clean water, education and tuition programs as well as several health clinics**

Please support The Salvation Army’s relief effort in Myanmar. Financial contributions can be made by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY (725-2769), by visiting our website, www.SalvationArmy.ca, by mailing donations to The Salvation Army Territorial Headquarters, Canada and Bermuda, 2 Overlea Blvd., Toronto, Ontario M4H 1P4, or dropping off financial donations at the closest Salvation Army unit in your area. Donors should specify their gift to the Myanmar Cyclone Relief Fund.
Please consider a gift to the Salvation Army today

Lego Bible - Temple


...the true name of the most famous building endeavor from the reign of King Solomon is The Temple of Yahweh. And in this week's update of the Brick Testament - here, the world can finally behold this most sacred of ancient monuments in perhaps its most beautiful form, rendered entirely out of LEGO bricks, inside and out.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The sayings of Sylas v15 - Mustard

The other day we were eating hot dogs when Sylas and Lukas started talking

Lukas: So Sylas, do you like mustard?
Sylas: No, it tastes like mushed birds!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Walking Thorncliffe Park

For the past 2 years an initiative called Jane's walk has encouraged people to walk through the less desirable areas of Toronto. Thorncliffe Park is on the list and a recent walker has an excellent article about our sweet neighbourhood!

http://spacing.ca/wire/2008/05/08/walking-thorncliffe-park/
As I noted earlier, Thorncliffe Park is built in a “U” shape with a series of tall and mid-sized towers wrapping around a series of amenities in the middle - the East York Town Centre mall, an elementary school, and a park. Connections can be made both along the “U” of Thorncliffe Park Drive, and through a pair of pedestrian pathways crossing each other in the middle of the “U”. The elementary school, located right behind the mall, has 1,900 students, making it the largest elementary school in North America....

Although Thorncliffe Park is reasonably coherent in terms of internal walking, it remains desperately isolated from the rest of the city
Read the rest of the article and see pictures here

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Thorncliffe mall rules!

Found this story about our local mall the East York Town Center:
the mall is more community-driven than most. There’s a surprising amount of independent local retailers here. Surprising because many malls are booting out such retailers, many of which cater to the various ethnic communities living around the mall.

As soon as I enter, I pick up the community vibe. The food court, for one, is in the centre of the mall slightly to one side instead of being tucked away in some dark dingy dungeon-like corner.
To read the entire article click here

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Video of the week - Anime Jesus!

Some of you may have seen the new comic Bible titled Manga Messiah. Recently a group connected with the Jesus Film started putting together an anime movie titled "Who is he". The first scenes look pretty awesome! Check it out - here - and then let them know what you think at http://en.whoishe.org:

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Sayings of Sylas v14 - Royale

The other day Hayley was grocery shopping with Sylas. As they came home, Sylas was helping carry groceries up the elevator when he noticed the soft, fuzzy kittens on the cover of the Royale bathroom tissue. Fixing his gaze on them he said:

Sylas: "Mommy how could you!!"
Hayley: "What do you mean, Sylas"
Sylas: "They had to kill kittens to make that toilet paper!"

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Facebook hacked!!??

My sincere apologies to anyone who got a spam message from me on facebook. I was not online or even at home at the time and am investigating.

Here's a video that explains more about how people can hack into your facebook account. be careful everyone:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AdFA6WWJ7E

**UPDATE** As was predicted by many of you my facebook account is now disabled. Has this happened to anyone else? Any tips to getting it back? I've sent them a number of messages asking for clarification on how my account sent messages to all my friends while I was not logged in.

**UPDATE2** Account is now back up and running

Video of the week - Baptism diving!

This is the way to get baptised!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Wednesday prayer requests - Cookie coming for the summer!!

You may remember Cookie (video below) from our Bridlegrove days. Well this summer Cookie is coming to live and work with us! We are thrilled to be able to continue the mentoring process as Cookie finishes up high school.

Cookie will be a summer intern, which will be a summer job for him, and we hope to pay him something as he works with me. Please consider sending financial support (to Leaside Bible Chapel) so that we will have the funds to pay him something. Most importantly remember him in prayer as he prepares for his future, that God would continue to mold him into a fine young man!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Thoughts on Lord's Prayer in Government

A government committee in Ontario "has been convened to review the traditional practice of reciting prayers at the opening of each business day".

What do you think of this practice? Do you support repetitious prayers said by some who may not believe them? Does God accept these prayers? Should the government continue this practice in order to continue some sort of covering that God places on us for doing this?

Well, the good news is that they are asking for your inupt on the matter! If you're a resident of Ontario click on the link below (then scroll down and click "Consultation on prayer in the Legislative Assembly"):

Welcome to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario

Video of the week - Olivia

Yes thank you, my daughter is the cutest thing on earth:

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Towers of power


A friend sent me this picture he took of some of the apartment buildings in our neighbourhood

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

I heart Fonebook

Yesterday I synced all my Facebook contacts with Outlook using an amazing little program called Fonebook - here. The best part of this is birthdays. Each and every facebook friends birthday is now in my Outlook calendar, which also syncs to my Treo!! Give it a try - here

Monday, April 07, 2008

"I’ve found God" says man who cracked the genome - UK Times

This article is pretty amazing - click here:
The Sunday Times
June 11, 2006
Steven Swinford

The scientist who led the team that cracked the human genome is to publish a book explaining why he now believes in the existence of God and is convinced that miracles are real.

Francis Collins, the director of the US National Human Genome Research Institute, claims there is a rational basis for a creator and that scientific discoveries bring man “closer to God”...

“When you have for the first time in front of you this 3.1 billion-letter instruction book that conveys all kinds of information and all kinds of mystery about humankind, you can’t survey that going through page after page without a sense of awe. I can’t help but look at those pages and have a vague sense that this is giving me a glimpse of God’s mind."

Sunday, April 06, 2008

The buffalos win

So depressing being a leafs fan. I waited all year to take Lukas & Sylas to their first Leaf game - here - and when I do they lose a heartbreaker in a shoot-out. How does it feel Leafs that you make little boys cry???

Friday, April 04, 2008

Best April fools reaction ever!!

I got this message on facebook from one of my friends. This has to be the best reaction ever:
haha o man... So I saw on the newsfeed that Shawn cuthill is now listed as single... I was like, NO no WAY, I dont believe it, so I went to your page and for the past few days your status said it was a bad day and then on monday it said you didnt want to talk about it. A million things ran through my mind and So I just had to pray... I was seriously thinking, wow if this can happen to them, I dont ever want to get married...I couldnt get it off my mind so to be alone i left the house before I even ate anything and took my prayer journal to go and pray for you guys, I walked awhile to Tim Hortons and just prayed...

then i skipped on over to wal-mart, this is where it gets crazy, I remember leavning to check out and all the sudden I wake up with 20 ppl around me as I'm being put in an ambulance...I dont know what happened but they tell me I collapsed on some lady and then I couldnt stop shaking because I had no strength. After bein a tiny bit nervous and then getting some tests done, the doctor told me I should never go on that long of a walk without eating. I can't remember if I ate supper the night before but its just funny because I was really worried about you guys and thats the whole reason i skipped my meal and went out... then i end up collapsing in wal-mart, very embarassing ;) and going to the hospital... later to find out it was a JOKE!!! haha
So in closing, remember to mark your calendar so if strange things happen on April 1st you'll know why :)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

South Asians rule!! Literally

As the Toronto Star reported recently "Today's Thorncliffe is tomorrow's Canada". Need further proof? Today's CTV news report -here- provides more data from the 2006 census::
Canada's ethnic makeup is changing dramatically, with the latest census numbers showing that for the first time, South Asians have edged out Chinese as the top visible minority group in the country.

The census data from Statistics Canada, released Wednesday morning, shows surging immigration from Asia has fuelled a phenomenon that has visible minorities for the first time comprising more than five million people, or 16 per cent of the population.

That marks an increase of 27 per cent in the immigration of visible minorities between 2001 and 2006.

Since 2001, three-quarters of Canada's new immigrants have been visible minorities, and the total now sits at 5,068,100, the census shows.

According to the census, 96 per cent of the visible minority population live in a metropolitan area. That's in sharp contrast to the 68 per cent of the total population that live in major cities.

Video of the week - April fools jokes

For April fools *each *year I rack my brains to think of the best possible prank to play. This past year I noticed that many people (cough*Jerry*cough*Steph*cough) use the facebook relationship status to shock & awe & quickly inform their friends of their new mate. So this year Hayley and I conspired to fake a 'facebook break up' using this very same relationship status apparatus. I'd say it went pretty well this year, I fooled people in at least 4 countries and had many many concerned messages (thank you by the way it's nice to know we're loved). However the severity of the prank caught some off gaurd, since I guess they forgot that we have freakin tattoos on our fingers so a break up of any kind is the farthest thing from ever happening. Next year perhaps I'll take some tips from these guys and plan something a little more low key:

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Lord we just....

Amazing post - here - about how many times Evangelicals use the word "just" in their prayers:
This is seriously one of my pet peeves in evangelical pseudo-cultural, pseudo-spirituality: The repetitive use of the word "just" in extemporaneous (is there any other kind?) prayers.

Lord Jesus, we just wanna just thank you for....and we just ask that...and just that you just would just...so just that we just could just...and just then just the pagans just would just...just because just we just love you just so much....

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Wednesday prayer requests - Hayley's eye

Just a quick prayer request from us. This morning (5AM) Sylas crawled in bed with us and in the process scratched Hayley directly in her eye. It hurt so much she couldn't open her eye and it freaked me out so we went to Sunnybook Emergency where they actually got us in to see a doctor in about 15 minutes (perhaps the writhing in pain helped get us ahead of the line). Now we're back home with drops, a patch and some tylenol 3. They say it will heal in 48 hours but she has to go back in tomorrow to get it checked. It's not just like a little scratch on the white part it's directly in the middle so the doctor wants to make sure it heals properly. So if you finish praying for the overwhelming needs of the world and have some spare time left we'd appreciate a quick prayer! Thanks everyone

Monday, March 24, 2008

Friday, March 07, 2008

Monday's hot topics - Darby the Calvinist?

Matt Cook posted some interesting findings on Darby on the forum - here:
just happened upon a neat little letter written by everyone's hero, JND. Here are some neat quotes that grabbed my attention: "To leave him to his free choice, now that he is disposed to do evil, would be a cruelty. "

I've heard from a few sources that Darby was a Calvinist, so if he leaned that way why are the Brethren generally opposed to Calvinism?
Hmmm...why are the brethren generally opposed to Calvinism if one of the main founders of the movement was a Calvinist?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

What's a bored kid to do in his room? Joe Cook shows us an exciting new way for a kid to entertain himself:

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Only 26 kindergarten classes

Previously I had reported that Sylas was in one of 32 kindergarten classes. A recent Toronto Star article - here - puts the number at 26:
Thorncliffe Park Elementary School, believed to be the largest in North America, has 26 kindergarten classes – 13 in the morning and 13 in the afternoon. Its teachers tend to work in groups of two or three planning lessons, with Dianne Hillier as a lead teacher for the entire group

Thursday, February 28, 2008

A food tour of Thorncliffe

Thursday's edition of the Toronto Star has a great article on Thorncliffe's South Asian Food variety - here. The best line in the article is the first one:
Today's Thorncliffe Park is tomorrow's Canada...

It's a striking statement and one that Jehad Aliweiwi makes over a Pakistani meal of haleem, shish kebab curry and chicken tikka masala at Iqbal Kebab & Sweet Centre...Statistics Canada predicts visible minorities (mainly South Asian and Chinese) will be the majority by 2017.That's already true in this little-known Toronto neighbourhood."This is maybe the true global village of the city," says Aliweiwi. "It's not a random neighbourhood with troubles or a bad reputation that's to be avoided. It's a neighbourhood with something to offer."

"This neighbourhood is 90 per cent Muslim," explains co-owner Jenny Hsiung, who comes from Calcutta and is happy to see Hakka (Indian/Pakistani/Chinese hybrid) taking off in Toronto...

Thorncliffe Park, which housed a farm that bred racehorses in the 1800s and then a racetrack from the 1920s to 1950s, retains a unique, circular feel. Aliweiwi loves how the area's apartment dwellers have taken ownership of its public spaces and, especially in warm weather, head out to stroll, chat and gather...

"As a cultural experience, the food and the people are something to be really proud of in this diverse city."

One omission from the article was the recent closing of Thorncliffe's Burger King, which was unable to compete in this South Asian community. That's today's Thorncliffe Park, that's the future of Canada.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Who was Valentine?

My good friend Josh Duffy has an amazing post on his blog -here- about the real hero of Valentines day:
St Valentine of Rome lived some 200 yrs after Christ. In that time the Roman Emperor Claudius II proclaimed a law that young men should not be married because single men made for better soldiers than married men. Valentine continued performing marriage ceremonies and was found out and was eventually brought before Emperor Claudius. Claudius had great respect for this man of God and tried to get Valentine to renounce Christ so that he could spare his life. Valentine refused and in turn, tried to convert Claudius from paganism to Christianity. Claudius refused and subsequently had Valentine imprisoned.

In prison Valentine befriended his jailor's daughter, who was blind. He prayed for her and she was miraculously cured which resulted in the jailor's conversion to Christ. The night before Valentine died he wrote a note to her and signed it "from your Valentine". On February 14, 269 AD, Valentine of Rome was beaten with clubs and beheaded for his faith.

This story is much different than the one we think of on Feb 14. Let's get back to the root of some of these holidays we ignorantly celebrate.
Amen Josh. Happy Valentines Day everyone!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Monday's hot topics: Rediscovering the early church

Over the past few years on this blog and on the forum - here - I've been digging in to the "early church". It seems I'm not alone. New forum member Elisa tipped us off to the cover story of this month's Christianty Today. The article focuses on this trend, a new generation looks for much deeper roots than their denominations offer. Here is an excerpt from the CT Feb08 cover story:
In Massachusetts, Campbell spoke with Sharon Carlson, a young woman raised in the Plymouth Brethren movement, a free-church tradition that eschews liturgy, tradition, and hierarchy. Carlson described the Communion experience as "tearing up bread and passing around cups of grape juice after men in the assembly spontaneously stood and repeated the words that they felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to say," and she felt that was no longer enough. As Campbell reports, " 'I want to be more connected to history, the history of the Christian church,' said Carlson, who relishes the knowledge that she is worshiping the way Christians have for centuries. 'There have been generations of people before me saying the same prayers.'
How do you feel about this trend to discover the ancient? As Protestants do we get frightened by reading about the ancient (Catholic) church? Or is it helpful to rediscover how people did church in the first century? Isn't that what the brethren movement was all about? Post your thoughts in the comments below or on the forum - here

Best candidate for the economy - "Unquestionably Ron Paul"

Money Matters reports which candidate "unquestionably" would be best for investors
On the Republican side, the picture is pretty clear. Ron Paul was unquestionably the most investor-friendly candidate based on the fact that his plans to downsize the government and end the United States’ Middle East involvement would both increase the resources available for the private sector and reduce the burden on taxpayers.
Again, if you're in the US please take another look at Ron Paul and consider voting for him.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Rate it!

I just added a little widget to my blog so you can all rate my posts. At the bottom of each post will be a starry scale from 1-5 measuring the level of awesome contained in my writings. 1 is really bad, 5 is really good. Give it a try!!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The sayings of Lukas v43 - Three wishes

Today's sayings come in picture form. For homework Lukas had to write down what he would wish for if he had three wishes. Here they are:
(click for larger image)

Monday, February 04, 2008

Making high-rises green?

I found this article called "Concrete City" about how architects are talking through making high-rises green. It features a great picture of Thorncliffe.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Christian & Muslim numbers

Very interesting article from The Economist - click here.
...over 100m copies of the Bible are sold or given away every year...available all or in part in 2,426 languages, covering 95% of the world's population...

Islam had a better 20th century than Christianity. The world's Muslim population grew from 200m in 1900 to its current levels...Islam's expansion has mostly come about through population growth and migration, rather than conversion...Many Christian scholars predict that Islam will overtake Christianity as the world's largest religion by 2050

Friday, February 01, 2008

Last look at Ron Paul before Super Tuesday

Well who would have guessed that Ron Paul would still be in the Republican race after Rudy, Fred and many others have dropped out. Today marks another in a long line or Ron Paul money bombs - here that have helped him shatter single-day fundraising records.

Please, if you live in the US and haven't done so already, take another look at Ron Paul before Super Tuesday. As a Canadian I am quite concerned about what will happen to the US if they don't get their house in order and Ron Paul is the only candidate who can make that happen...or at least that's what the latest endorsement from the National Taxpayers Union states - here:
According to a report released Tuesday by the National Taxpayers Union, Texas Congressman Ron Paul is the only remaining presidential candidate who proposes net spending cuts. According to the report, Congressman Paul’s proposals would cut government spending by over $150 billion, a conservative estimate of the spending reductions Dr. Paul has proposed. The report concludes that the other remaining Republican candidates, Romney, McCain and Huckabee, have proposed spending increases of $19.5 billion, $6.9 billion and $54 billion respectively(eek!!) . In ten terms in Congress, Ron Paul has never voted for a tax increase or for an unbalanced budget
Here's the video from the latest Republican debate:


Ron Paul is a medical doctor who has delivered 4,000 babies before entering politics and he is endorsed by Roe (of Roe v Wade) as the best pro-life candidate. He's been a congressman for 10 terms and never voted for a tax hike or unbalanced budget.

But if you're still not sure who to vote for take this Survey - here and find out who's policies you most align with. Happy Super Tuesday everyone! :)