Saturday, August 21, 2010

Set nothing before ME that is not MINE!

This last week we had our monthly council meeting at our Anglican Church; we call it a Vestry meeting – the committee of people that forms the council is known as the Vestry in the Anglican Church.

We had some important business to attend to; we were discussing and finalising a letter which is to be issued the congregation on a matter which affects the future of our Church. Naturally there was discussion and different ideas concerning the letter and we worked through those different ideas. We worked late to do it. As one of our members was rewording the letter in the office our Pastor started us in prayer, which developed into a time of silent prayer.

I was lifting each person in turn up to the Lord, thinking about how each person is unique and has a slightly different viewpoint and by discussion we can come to a consensus, and so achieve unity that way.

That was Wednesday and I returned home late. The next night (Thursday) I woke up at 3:00 am and was turning the meeting over in my mind and returned to the theme of my previous prayer and lifting it again to the Lord. Then I got a thought that I should get up out of bed and kneel in prayer before God, and I thought “no not now Lord” and it seemed that a voice said “Yes you must”.

I was wide awake now so I got up to kneel in prayer; continuing my prayers for our Church.

Then I heard inside a voice inside speaking to me; clearly and with emphasis:
“Set nothing before ME that is not MINE!” 
I was surprised because this did not seem to be my thoughts, but rather I thought it must be God talking to me.

I prayed: 
“How can that be Lord; because when we come before you on Sunday we bring our sins with us and we declare them first silently and then corporately though The Confession”. 
God doesn’t create sin so how could this be from God; our sins are not Godly yet we set them before him day-by-day and particularly during our Sunday worship.

What is it that we cannot set before the Lord?

Then I heard very quickly, and once again with emphasis:
“Your sins are MINE because I bore them!” 
And then again – clearly and with emphasis:
“Set nothing before ME that is not MINE!” 
And I thought yes, Jesus bore our sins on the cross [1]. But what then is it that we cannot set before God if even our sins we can bring before Him.

What is it that we cannot set before the Lord?

Then my mind turned to passages in the Old Testament. First God gave the Israelites a bronze serpent though Moses; the people were healed from snake bites [2].

Then some generations after receiving the bronze serpent to protect them and heal them, the Israelites were worshipping the bronze serpent. The king at that time, Hezekiah, was commanded by God to break the bronze serpent. God’s people were showing too much regard for that bronze serpent because it came from God; they were in effect worshipping it, and that is idolatry and breaks the first commandment [3]. 

I knew that idolatry is one thing that we cannot set before God. It seemed that the answer t my questions was in the scriptures.

I had the clear understanding that this was not a word for me only but applied to all His Church, and in particular the little branch of His Church that I attend for worship weekly.

I felt that I had to write it down, but I heard a clear:
"No not now but later!"
One word of caution. When someone tells you that God told them this or that, treat it like the Bereans in Acts 17:11 [5], and search the Word of God to see if it contravenes scripture. If it does contravene scripture, then it is clearly not a word given by God.

If it is in harmony with scripture then there is no harm in paying attention to it, provided you don’t consider the person more highly because of it. God will speak to all sorts of people: remember Jesus appeared to Paul who was persecuting Christians even to death. He called himself the worst of sinners [6].

Was it God speaking to me? Or was it just my imagination that conjured up this message? I am sure it was God but I ask you neither to believe it, nor to disbelieve it, but rather to consider this word with circumspection like the Bereans.

Bible references:

[1] 1 Peter 2:24 

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.

[2] Numbers 21:6-9

So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived.

[3] 2 Kings 18:4

He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. (It was called Nehushtan).

[4] Exodus 20:

"You shall have no other gods before me.

"You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments.

[5] Acts 17:11 

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

[6] 1 Timothy 1:16

But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.

All texts are taken from the New International Version (NIV) Bible

Gurth Whitaker
Calgary, Alberta

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Devils Dictionary of "Climate Science"

I found this post from February which was still in draft form and not posted.

I lifted it from the comments section of a blog posted by a Mr. David Lancaster, PA,

DEVIL'S DICTIONARY of "Climate Science"

PEER REVIEW: The act of banding together a group of like-minded academics with a funding conflict of interest, for the purpose of squeezing out any research voices that threaten the multi-million dollar government grant gravy train.

SETTLED SCIENCE: Betrayal of the scientific method for politics or money or both.

DENIER: Anyone who suspects the truth.

CLIMATE CHANGE: What has been happening for billions of years, but should now be flogged to produce "panic for profit".

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE: Leftist Nutcase Prize, unrelated to "Peace" in any meaningful way.

DATA, EVIDENCE: Unnecessary details. If anyone asks for this, see "DENIER" above.

CLIMATE SCIENTIST: A person skilled in spouting obscure, scientific-sounding jargon that has the effect of deflecting requests for "DATA" by "DENIERS." Also skilled at affecting an aura of "Smartest Person in the Room" to buffalo gullible legislators and journalists.

David, Lancaster, PA, 15/2/2010 17:00

Freedom to Chose

In my two recent posts (Ban the Burqa & Ayaan Hirsi Ali's book "Nomad" & the burka) I touched on the issue of the burka and tried to show that it has no place in Canadian society. I believe that it is part of a belief system that is repressive to women, and in opposition to our Canadian values of freedom of thought and expression, as embodied in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

My reasoning is that our Canadian system comes from a Judeo-Christian heritage: both the Old Testament and the New Testament affirm the right to chose God or reject him. Here's one of many examples from the OT from Joshua 24:15 (English Standard Version)
And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." 
"Choose this day whom you will serve," there is no compulsion attached to this invitation, no threat of beheading as dictated by Mohamed if a conquered foe would not adopt Islam. If not face execution by beheading there was the alternative of becoming a second class citizen called a dhimmi; a grinding life of submission, a second class citizen who's testimony bears no weight at all against that of a Muslim. That is basically the condition of non-Muslims in most countries under Islamic authority.

If we read through the New Testament we will see the gentle invitation to accept Jesus.

The Charter should protects that right to chose, and therefore it would be a perversion of the intent of the Charter to use it to promote traditional Islam, which is committed to taking away a woman's rights to chose and a man or a woman's right to chose to leave Islam. A Muslim person in Islamic lands is not free to chose to become a Christian, or a Buddhist, or become an atheist. The sentence is death. 

Islamic lands prohibit the preaching of Christianity - how could we use our Charter of Rights  and Freedoms in a way that promotes a religion that does that?

If we argue that the Charter should protect a woman's right to wear the burka, then we use the Charter to further cause of Islamification, which is a step towards taking away a woman's right to chose.

I make a difficult argument because our freedoms are so deeply ingrained in us; but those freedoms cannot be used for the purpose of allowing tyranny, and that is what the burka represents: a tyrannical religion which seeks to take away the freedoms that we hold precious and subjugate the conquered people to the will of Mullahs.

Gurth Whitaker
Calgary, AB 

The Bible's Approach to Relationship's and the Body

A great comment by a friend and Christian brother reinforced the great gulf between what the Bible teaches and those beliefs that insist that a women must be hidden, and if she is not then she is a legitimate target for rape. Here's this wonderful comment from a reader on this post: Ayaan Hirsi Ali's book "Nomad" & the burka
In reading your comments Gurth I am reminded that in Ephesians Chapter 5, verse 21 there is a very different model given by the Apostle Paul on how men are to treat their wives. They are called to love their wives as they love their own bodies. Even more importantly, they are called to love their wives as Jesus loves the church. This is something that speaks to the very essence of the incarnational nature of Christianity. The God of the Christian Scriptures loves matter. Although infected by the Fall, all of matter is being redeemed in and through Jesus Christ. The way we treat our bodies, and the way we treat our wife's body is a sign of the redemptive and restorative work of Christ.
There the body is to be treated with respect. I Peter 3 speaks about modest dress but nowhere in the New Testament is there the dictate that women are to hide their bodies.
There is always a respect for the beauty of the body and the call to treat it as the Temple of the Holy Spirit.
Biblical Christianity instructs us to relate to our bodies in this way and for men to love their wives as Jesus loves the Church because Jesus loves us totally; our mind, soul, body and spirit. 
I do not know enough about the burka issue to comment on it directly. What I will says is that Ephesians 5 gives a very different way to relate to women from the one governing the burka practise.
Read Paul's Letter to the Ephesians, Chapter 5 at Bible Gateway

Gurth Whitaker
Calgary, AB

Monday, August 2, 2010

Ban the Burqa

Following my piece yesterday about Canada banning the Burka, which was prompted by reading an excerpt from Ayaan Hirsi Ali's book "Nomad", in the National Post, I find today a compelling piece by Claire Berlinski titled “Ban the Burqa” from the August 2 issue of National Review. [1]

What I find compelling about Berlinski’s essay is that her viewpoint, which developed while living in Istanbul was formerly very sympathetic to a woman’s right to choose to wear the veil. She supported it strongly, however now she makes a very strong case for banning the veil.

She proceeds for several paragraphs as to why she supported women’s right to wear the veil in Turkey’s secular society. The former secular society is giving way to Islamic stridency and extremism. 

However, her viewpoint has come a full 180. Her logic and evidence for this change is impeccable; she presents argument and evidence that the wearing of the niqab is a Trojan horse for militant Islamism.

The ideology behind Kemal Ataturk’s banning the headscarf and the veil (niqab) was to ensure for the protection of woman who will be attacked, vilified with the slur of “prostitute,” and ultimately raped as fair game by Islamic men. That scenario is being played out in EU countries in no-go areas that Islamic men claim as Islamic territory. 
There are already many neighborhoods in Europe where scantily dressed women are not safe. In the benighted Islamic suburbs of Paris, as Samira Bellil writes in her autobiography: Dans l’enfer des tournantes (“In Gang-Rape Hell”),
there are only two kinds of girls. Good girls stay home,clean the house, take care of their brothers and sisters, and only go out to go to school. . . . Those who . . . dare to wear make-up, to go out, to smoke, quickly earn the reputation as “easy” or as “little whores.”
Parents in these neighborhoods ask gynecologists to testify to their daughters’ virginity. Polygamy and forced marriages are commonplace. Many girls are banned from leaving the house at all. According to French-government statistics, rapes in the housing projects have risen between 15 and 20 percent every year since 1999. In these neighborhoods, women have indeed begun veiling only to escape harassment and violence. In the suburb of La Courneuve, 77 percent of veiled women report that they wear the veil to avoid the wrath of Islamic morality patrols. We are talking about France, not Iran.
Establishing Islamic territory is a fundamental ideology of Islam. That territory is known as Dar a-Salam, which means house of peace and it is the land conquered by Islam. Those woman who are infidels and do not conform to the dress and code dictated by the Islamic men in control are fair game for rape by Islamic men. 
At its core, the veil is the expression of the belief that female sexuality is so destructive a force that men must at all costs be protected from it; the natural correlate of this belief is that men cannot be held responsible for the desires prompted in them by an unveiled woman, including the impulse to rape her. In 2006, Sheikh Taj el-Din al-Hilali, Australia’s most senior Muslim cleric, delivered a sermon referring to a recent rape victim thus:
"If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside . . . without cover, and the cats come to eat it . . . whose fault is it, the cats’ or the uncovered meat’s? The uncovered meat is the problem. If she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab, no problem would have occurred."
This is Islamic thought, my argument yesterday that the Charter is opposed to this kind of religious thought, and therefore should not be used to protect Islamic proponents to force the use of the niqab.

Once veiling takes a hold, unveiled woman are not safe - this is the Trojan horse of allowing the niqab which promotes Islamic objectives:
The cancerous spread of veiling has been seen throughout the Islamic world since the Iranian Revolution. I have watched it in Turkey. Through migration and demographic shift, neighborhoods that once were mixed have become predominantly veiled. The government has sought to lift prohibitions on the wearing of headscarves, legitimizing and emboldening advocates of the practice.
Understanding the underlying reasons why the spread of the burka is of concern and it is much more dangerous than a simple religious choice, we need to understand the aim of Islam itself. For this I turn to the "Islamic Dictionary for Infidels" [2]:
"Converting the entire world to Islam is an immutable fixture of the Muslim worldview. Only if this task is accomplished, if the world has become a "Dar al-Islam," will it also be a "Dar a-Salam," or a house of peace." 
The burqa and niqab are emblematic and one of many key steps in this process, as  Berlinski's essay clearly shows, and that is why it is important to preserve our Canadian values as expressed in our Charter that we should ban them.
Claire Berlinski:

[1] Claire Berlinski: “Ban the Burqa” from the August 16 issue of National Review, is a must read.

Claire Berlinski is a freelance journalist who lives in Istanbul. She is the author of 'Menace in Europe: Why the Continent’s Crisis Is America’s, Too,' and 'There Is No Alternative: Why Margaret Thatcher Matters.'

[2] "Islamic Dictionary for Infidels" an essay by Wolfgang Bruno.

Gurth Whitaker
Calgary, AB

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Ayaan Hirsi Ali's book "Nomad" & the burka

Reading the excerpt from Ayaan Hirsi Ali's book "Nomad", published in the National Post, it reinforces my belief that to NOT ban the burka is a travesty:
The Muslim veil, the different sorts of masks and beaks and burkas, are all gradations of mental slavery. You must ask permission to leave the house, and when you do go out you must always hide yourself behind thick drapery. Ashamed of your body, suppressing your desires -- what small space in your life can you call your own? The veil deliberately marks women as private and restricted property, nonpersons. The veil sets women apart from men and apart from the world; it restrains them, confines them, grooms them for docility. A mind can be cramped just as a body may be, and a Muslim veil blinkers both your vision and your destiny. It is the mark of a kind of apartheid, not the domination of a race but of a sex.

That is a compelling indictment of the burka and the traditions that surround it.

The argument that it breaches the religious freedoms of Canadians is surely misapplied.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, ensures equality and justice for peoples of all races, origins and genders, is based within the framework of the Judeo-Christian tradition from which Canadian culture and laws have been developed.

Religious freedom is not absolute. For example there were many religions which included child-sacrifice in lands surrounding ancient Israel. Obviously, the murder of a child for relgious reasons would not be protected under the Charter. Therefore it is clear there are limits to what the Charter can protect, and what it can not protect.

The Charter is not absolute in that sense; on the contrary it preserves Canadian values of justice - not to protect traditions that are in opposition to our values. The walking coffin that is the burka and the surrounding traditions of the cultures which demand it be worn, are values that are opposite to the very values that the Charter protects. The burka is a custom that is from a tradition that is totally foreign to our values, and therefore to the Charter.

When I read passages from the New Testament which illustrate Jesus' relationship with woman, I see a respect and evidence brotherly-sisterly love which is foreign from this absolute mastery over woman that comes from Islamic traditions.

Read the excerpt from Ayaan Hirsi Ali's book "Nomad: 'Allah brings the rains and Allah makes the sun shine'

Gurth Whitaker
Calgary, AB