Before you start criticizing Islam….


The Islamic Bulletin

Fear is the path to the dark side…fear leads to anger…anger leads to hate…hate leads to suffering.”

Yoda.

Before you continue with this reading, I would like you to take a second to have a look at the link above. It’s from the Islamic Bulletin. It’s a list of Christians that have converted to Islam.

It’s an interesting list. There is a District Judge, Human Rights Activist, Scientist, Politicians, Theology Lecturer and a Musician. In their own way, have made a significant positive contribution to society. The list includes Cat Stevens and Malcolm X by the way.

Now, you might argue that this list is obviously bias to make Islam look good. However, we know that there have been Doctors, Scientists, Professors, Engineers, Nurses, to name a few professions, that have converted to Islam from a various of different perspectives. They have also made a positive contribution to our communities and society. Some have saved lives. Some have profound thoughts. Some make sustainable changes.

What we don’t see is the news stations like CNN showing 24 hour coverage discussing how these will positively impact our culture. And made a difference in our world. We also don’t see a spectacle of comments on Social Media discussing how this changes who we are as a nation.

We also know that there are Muslims that are Doctors, Scientists, Professors, Engineers, Nurses and others in a variety of professions who have made a significant difference in our world. Some in Canada. Some in America. Many all over the world.

What we don’t see is news stations like CNN showing 24 hour coverage discussing how these actions will positively impact our culture. And made a difference in our world.  We also don’t see a spectacle of comments on Social Media discussing how this changes who we are as a nation.

Today, we are learning of a gentleman named Michael Zihaf-Bibeau. He is a man that shot and killed a Canadian Soldier at a War Memorial in Ottawa. He then proceeded to walk into Parliament Hill and opened fire until a man named Kevin Vickers stopped him. Eventually, Zihaf-Bibeau was shot and killed.

What we have learned according to the RCMP, and other news agencies is that Zihaf-Bibeau converted to Islam. He came to Ottawa to deal with a passport issue. And despite reports to the contrary, he acted alone.

What we are seeing is news stations like CNN showing 24 hour coverage on how we need to be concerned of “Radical Islam”. And how the “radicalization” has changed our country for ever. We were also discussing the steps we need to take to stop this “radicalization”. This has created a spectacle on Social Media.

This is in spite of the RCMP making it clear that there is no indication Zihaf-Bibeau was connected in anyway with the radical group ISIS. Even though the RCMP, who are paid to investigate crimes by the way, says no, there are some “experts” that say yes.

The “experts” are trying to remind us of the very real threat “Radical Islam” is. What they forgot to tell you that, in spite of the media coverage and the questions, that Muslims ,converts or not, have made a significant positive impact on society. And the contributions, far, far outweigh the atrocities.

Let’s be clear. The actions of this man, Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Atheist or any other perspective was awful. Men and women will be deeply affected by what happened. A mother and a father lost a son. Dogs lost their master. People were locked down and away from people that they hold precious. We must never lose sight of that.

But before we make assumption that this was about a conversion to a faith, let’s remember first, Michael was a human. A human that it appears mat have got caught up in fear. The fear led to some anger. The anger led to some hate. The hate led him to the actions of yesterday. That has happened to many, many humans. Not just an apparent converted Muslim.

Speaking of Muslim, before you start assuming you know something about the theology of Islam, might I suggest you do some research.

As mentioned, there are many Muslims who are devoted to their community, and embrace our culture. Remember Calgary, one is a Mayor of your city. There are many Muslims who spend more time praying for our world more than many Christians do quite frankly. They also know their Scripture far better than many Christians can claim to know theirs.

Speaking of Christians, this is where I get Jesusey on you.   Yes, Jesusey is a word.

Jesus said this. “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks”.

Note what Jesus and even Yoda said.

Their quotes have nothing to do with being a part of a religion.  They don’t claim if you are this or that, that you will do good or evil because of your faith or religion. It speaks to the humanity of you. In other words

You can be Muslim and do good.

You can be Christian and do good.

You can be an Atheist and do good.

You can be Hindu and do good.

You can be Human and do good.

The decisions we make generally, come down to our maturity, character, perspective and outlook on life. Not necessarily because of the religion we follow.

We would do well to remember that before we start criticizing.

Agree or Disagree: Pastors who refuse to marry same-sex couples should be prosecuted.


Going to Christian churches, there are certain things that you hear that makes you shake your head.  As an example,from time to time, you might hear comments about the coming “End Times.”

One of the things I heard some Pastors say was in regards to the legalizing same-sex marriages. There was concern that if they as a Pastor refused to perform a same-sex marriage, they could be prosecuted. Personally, I didn’t see that coming. As a matter of fact, I seem to remember this concern was addressed.

However, apparently in Idaho, something has changed.

If this story is true, there appears to be a movement to prosecute Pastors who refuse to perform same sex marriages.

Donald and Evelyn Knapp are Ministers in Coeur d’Alene.  They were told to perform a same sex marriage or face jail time and a $1,000 fine.

Too be clear, the above story has had several clarifications and disputes.

This is just one example. This is a response from the New Civil Rights Movement to the story which you can read here.

I’m going to let you read the story. Then, I simply am going to ask this question.  I’m curious where this goes.

Do you think Pastors who refuse to marry same-sex couples should be prosecuted under the law? Should the face jail time? Should they be fined?

Do you think that the Pastors that are concerned about being forced to marry same-sex couples have something too be concerned about?

Why or why not?

Agree or Disagree: It is time to eliminate the Separate School System.


As usual, there was lots of interesting conversation on Facebook.

Today, the topic was education. And the discussion of the need of the Catholic School System.

There was a comment on Facebook that made the rounds. I thought we can use this as our framework tonight.

It is from a contributor named Luke Fevin. Or, for now Duke Luke Fevin. Here it is.

PM Wilfred Laurier did a deal in 1905 just prior to Alberta coming into Confederation to secure the Catholic vote in the upcoming election. His end of the deal was to promise the option of “Separate” schools for the Catholics in Alberta, in areas where they were the minority and there was an existing Public (Protestant) school.

These schools were intended to be “secular” (yes, that’s the word they used to describe them) during the day with the exception of the option of opening the school day with the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer, and RESTRICTS the option of 30 minutes of religious instruction to the end of the day.

The fact that there was so little difference (they were identical in every way during the day) meant that Separate schools weren’t generally expected to survive. That given the only difference between Public & Separate school was the last 30 minutes of the day, it was expected that the taxpayers would say it wasn’t worth the expense.

From 1905, we have in my opinion gone backward. The Catholic system has completely ignored, flouted and abused laws & the Rights of others.

Although to be fair, it’s not just the Catholic system that has ignored these laws. We have a number of Evangelical Christian Public schools, as well Christian programs such as LOGOS, as well as a couple of other Public Faith schools that all demand and enjoy the privileges and protections of law, but completely ignore it when it suits them.

It is time to dis-establish the Separate school system.

It is it blatantly unfair for the government to favor one religion with infrastructure and tax dollars and the “constitutional” argument is redundant. Firstly, other provinces have done it already. No biggie.

And let me ask you. If women not having the vote was constitutionally protected, would anyone care? No. It’s a bad idea, irrelevant to today and so we’d change it. The Separate school system is no different.

In fact, t is so unfair, that the United Nations Human Rights Committee actually cited Canada for religious discrimination!

A family with 3 kids in another denominational Private school is worse off by $150,000 tax dollars than the same Catholic family in a Catholic school . How is that fair?

And for those that say their property taxes get directed to their local Catholic board. No it doesn’t. The money goes in a big pot and then follows the child. On top of which, if you’re paying $3,000 a year in property taxes and have 3 kids in school – even if 50% of your taxes go to education you are still only contributing $500 of a $10,000 tab. The Province is picking up the other 95%.

And as for what we get in return for the approx. $200 MILLION we waste EVERY year in the operating inefficiences of running two competing duplicate systems? What is the educational advantage?

Nothing. We get a cross over the door of one in 5 of our schools and get to act like a farm team for the Catholic church. In the meantime (many of) the Catholic schools and boards get / choose to;

#1 Deny Canadian families their Charter Rights.
#2 Turn away non-Catholic families (including forcing them on lengthy bus rides).
#3 Discriminate in hiring non-Catholics teachers.
#4 Coerce young graduating teachers to become Catholic.
#5 Deny students the ability to form GSA’s.
#6 Force teachers / students to sign Christian lifestyle pledges.
#7 Teach abstinence focused sex ed.
#8 Fire gender-reassigning teachers.
#9 Coerce gay teachers in / remain in closet.
#10 Choose to deny schoolchildren the choice of easy access to medicine / vaccinations based on inaccurate religious beliefs.

Madness. You have to have grown up here to think that this is OK or normal. We actually operate a school system where we bus kids past schools they could walk to! For why?

Personally I’d rather spend the $200 MILLION dollars EVERY year from the EDUCATION budget on more teachers & schools – and I think it’s time we let our elected officials know that.

What do you think of this statement? Do you Agree or Disagree with it?

Question: What is a Christian?


hands_holding_bible-6327

A while ago, I was part of a panel discussion with about the topic of Worldviews.

There was an Atheist,  a Baha’i, more of a conservative Christian, and me a “Progressive” Christian.

On Saturday, I’m going to be part of a panel discussing the future of Christianity. There will be a “Progressive” Christian, an ex-Christian, a new Christian, and a Conservative/Traditional Christian. This should be an interesting conversation.

One of the first questions we are going to discuss is this one. And, I’m curious as to what your thoughts are on this.

If you were asked what a Christian is, how would you respond? You don’t have to be a Christian to answer this question. As a matter of  fact, I welcome those who aren’t.

Agree or Disagree: The Podcast-The Freedom Initiative


Jennifer Kornfield, and Ryan Martin discuss a project called The Freedom Initiative.

The intent of the project is to share the great stories of social justice and foreign aid.Stories that happen in different countries. Stories that you don’t, or won’t hear in the news.

Click here to listen to the Podcast.
Topics we discuss include;

Who are Jennifer and Ryan?
In terms of social justice and foreign aid, what is currently working?

What is not working?

Does the media only focus on negative news?

The Freedom Initiative’s first project.

Their kickstarter campaign. Which is below

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1504281566/the-freedom-initiative-project-burma
Follow the Freedom Initiative
Facebook: The Freedom Initiative.
www.thefreedominitiative.ca
Twitter: @FrdmInitative

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Agree or Disagree: Mental Health Issues are too hard to talk about over Social Media.


Mental-Health-Awareness-Week-3

You may, or may not be aware that this is Mental Health Awareness Week.

For those who are not aware what it is, you can click here.

I do post a lot of different…conversation  pieces on Facebook and Twitter and this blog. Things like dating, sex, politics, religion . They all get a good conversation and different perspectives involved.

I also post stuff on mental illness from time to time.  With the exception of one that went horribly sideways, generally there is not a lot of comments on the topic.

It has lead to me wonder about something.

Is the actual topic of mental illness and mental struggles too tough and perhaps too personal to discuss over Social Media? As much as we think there is an openness to this, that is something very personal?

What are your thoughts?

Agree or Disagree: The Podcast-A Preview of the Calgary Flames 2014-2015 Season


Calgary-Flames

Dan Stephenson from Fireside Chat is back with his co-host Matt to talk about the Calgary Flames and the expectations for this coming year.

Topics include.
A review of the Flames Draft.
Did Brian Burke write Dan a letter because Cammarelli left for free agency?
Who also left the Flames?
Who came in to help the Flames?
A quick assessment of the Oilers and Canucks.
Flames Training Camp.
Goaltender, Defence pairings, and Forward lines.
The expected first call ups.
A prediction from Matt on how well the Flames farm team Adirondack Flames will do this year.

Click Here to listen to the Podcast
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www.firesidechat.ca

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Agree or Disagree: The Podcast.